The project will focus on providing an interventional safe space activity which contains sound to redirect negative thoughts into more positive ones resulting in potential behavioural change, both in personal space and social space, co-produced with the Cornish farming and fishing community in collaboration with Farming Health Hub and Fairwinds.
We want to change behaviours and attitudes around health and wellbeing in farming and reach those most in need. Poor mental health is a widely discussed topic within the farming and fishing community with a perceived gap in support for farmers, especially in isolated rural areas in Cornwall. Farmers and fishermen and woman are one of the professional groups at highest risk of suicide in England and Wales, accounting for about 1% of all suicides. In general, stoic attitudes may make it more likely for people living and working in rural communities to deny mental health problems or postpone seeking medical or associated services until it is economically necessary (Kilpatrick et al, 2012).
The pressure of maintaining the family farm, alongside social and physical isolation, living in a close-knit community and perceived stigma, means people are reluctant to come forward and seek help. This innovation will enable us to offer a product that farmers can directly engage with. Vets and other professionals working with the farming community can also signpost to this resource. The project would focus on increasing knowledge and understanding, imparting skills, reducing barriers through enablement, and using communication to stimulate action.
Echos of Agriculture and Fishing aims to address the issue of mental ill-health that can possibly lead to becoming a farming or fishing fatality via an interventional safe space activity which contains sound to redirect negative thoughts into more positive ones resulting in potential behavioural change, both in personal space and social space.
Technology increasingly plays a central role in ensuring that people can access vital assistance and high-quality support equitably. We want to be able to deliver a accessible, responsive and tailored service. Providing farmers and fishers where they are with tools to use at the moment, they need them and built-in collaboration from an end user perspective are what we would like to pilot.
Echo Point will use sounds to influence breathing reduce agitation and build sustained resilience in Cornish Farming and Fishing communities.
In the research phase of the project over 1000 people were spoken with in a Coastal Community and sessions were held in café GP waiting rooms and various other locations. In 2019 The project was then piloted working with Public Health with a soundscape created in a coastal community and the identified sounds that people found to reduce anxiety incorporated into a soundscape and onto QR codes, posters in shops, stickers, and resource cards.
Results to date have been positive from this pilot:
Digital outreach social media ( twitter , facebook and instagram ) : 15700
Digital outreach site:
- November: 620 website visits,
- December: 4328 website visits
- January: 2911 website visits so far
Average daily website visitors
- November: 124 avg daily
- December: 139 avg daily
- January: 161 avg daily
Video plays on Vimeo :
- 20 plays a day.
- 40 plays,80% of visitors watch the whole film.
- Assets physical pack Coastal Surgery : 500 items Assets physical pack : 3400 items high street shop window support , assets placements in phone boxes and bus stops , stickers have been taken and replaced indicating the impact and desirability to investigate.
The idea to take this to the farming and fishing communities specifically is built on this pilot intervention being able to reach people where they are through a multi-dimensional digital offer which is co-produced.
This idea was further supported through discussion with the Suicide Intervention Lead for Cornwall given the mental health issues identified within the farming community. Over 10, 700 individuals are directly employed in agriculture in Cornwall and now two key issues compound the risk to mental health issues for those communties – Brexit (changes to the farm payment scheme) and the pandemic. Farm and fishing economic and mental health are intrinsically linked with their business being their home and intergenerational dependency with generations living and working together.
Meet The Team :
Justin Wiggan is an artist working at the frontiers of arts and public intervention. His practice includes a range of media from sound, phonics, film, drawing, installation, interventions and performance, and has also attracted collaboration across the medical research and creative industries sectors. His works have been exhibited nationally and internationally: B.O. M Birmingham, Protein Gallery London, Baltic Gallery, Citric Gallery Italy, Gigantic Art Space New York. His aim is to educate, share and engage people with sound as a creative field and reconnect with their lives using sound art. He also extends his artistic practice into collaborative research in galleries, youth homes, and public access spaces with community groups and leading workshops within areas of vulnerable elements of society, palliative care, mental health and education. He runs Glass Twin LTD , a company who uses sound as a tool to promote mental wellbeing through technology, reflection, nostalgia and memory. Glass Twin LTD is a sound and health focused company which aims to improve community resilience and individual wellbeing though a simple, accessible process that reconnects us with the world of sound. Glass Twin uses a reflective process with customers to develop bespoke soundscapes; and products incorporating the soundscape. Glass Twin has worked in a range of settings including hospices, prisons and schools. The company has also worked with emergency services and charities working to support people with mental ill health or additional needs. His work is described as ground breaking, and he has been cited as the most exciting artist working across arts and health in the UK today.
Nikki Kelly Director of FHH is an experienced Director and mental health practitioner and social prescriber working as a mental health advocate in both community and acute mental health settings and working with GP practices and community organisations to support people’s wellbeing. Alongside over 20 years’ experience in community development, place-based education, regeneration and skills to employment initiatives and coming from a farming family.
Jon James Director of FHH is Head of Service for Natural and Marine Environment at Bristol City Council and is the Founder of the FHH which was created to bring organisations from the private, public, and voluntary sectors together to provide advice, support and guidance to the farming community.
Kevin Feaviour is a psychologist. an experienced manager, researcher and practitioner, who has worked in many fields including education, youth justice and engaging communities around a particular problem to bring about sustainable change.
Sarah Counter is a CBT Therapist (BABCP Accredited) Sarah is an experienced mental health practitioner and CBT Therapist who has 20years experience working in NHS mental health services. She runs Farm Fit who works in a practical and constructive way, supporting farmers to help identify,manage stressors, and build resilience in a way that is right for them. Offering timely access to a wellbeing assessment for wellbeing support and psychological therapy as required. Providing the correct level of intervention tailored specifically to individual need. If the farmer or their families require more specialised support, they will know who to refer to for further support. Farm fit is a wellbeing project for farmers and their families run by Land to Sea CBTin partnership with Fairwinds Cornwall offer support to farmers and families across Cornwall and the IOS.
Ceri Summers is a mental health practitioner who runs Sea Fit with Fairwinds.
We want to provide an easily accessible interventional safe space for the farming and fishing community through an activity which contains sound to redirect negative thoughts into more positive ones resulting in potential behavioural change, both in personal space and social space.
- Reducing the risk of self-harm and suicide
- Aid decision-making
- Breaking negative thought patterns
- Raising Nitric Oxide Levels (lowers blood pressure)
- Redirecting emotion
- Extending dwell time
- Controlling Breathing
- Improving mood
- Reframing environment and experience as motivation
The soundscape uses crowd sourced data from the farming and fishing community who have been asked to share the sounds they believe are their happiest, building:
- Community ownership
- Responsibility and Understanding
- Cross Culture Collaboration
- Safety and Grounding
- Empathetic Intergenerational Engagement
The soundscape helps with anxiety reduction by a guided breathing technique of 4:7:8. The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as "relaxing breath," involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, exhaling for 8 seconds and forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath as a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system. The sounds help control the thought process to reduce control of cortisol, which in turn reduces agitation.
The project works to foster resilience and understand stress to be used with mindful actions in daily life. Echos through Agriculture and Fishing will play an important part in the development of localised and integrated farming health and wellbeing approaches, working with partners to identify and fill gaps in provision and add value to existing services alongside supporting individuals signposted for support.
The Global Picture :
· Every year, nearly one million people die from suicide.
· Every forty seconds somebody takes their own life
· In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide.
· Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15- 44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group.
In Cornwall there have been between 50 and 80 deaths per year as a result of suicide or self-injury of undetermined intent since 1993. (Cornwall IOS Suicide Audit 2015) In 2017, an estimated 45% of coastal fatalities around the coastline in the UK were believed to have been due to people taking their own lives.
Interim Director of Wellbeing and Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Steve Brown said: “In Cornwall we have higher suicide rates than the national average. This could be due to a number of factors, including higher numbers among people in certain trades such as agricultural workers that can have high rates of stress. This could be avoided if they were able to talk to someone. In reality, almost every family or community will have been affected in some way at some time by suicide. It is often wrongly believed that nothing can be done but it’s interesting how something like this can help, firstly by helping to break up a negative thought pattern but also in helping to start the conversation, bringing people, organisations and communities together, to help contribute to prevention or intervening to save a life.“
Coastal communities have some of the worst levels of economic and social deprivation in the UK. Comparison of earnings, employment, health and education data in local authority areas has identified “pockets of significant deprivation” in seaside towns.
The Cornish Coastline provides access to means which is a major issue in suicide, compounded by many coastal communities being poorly connected, and wide range of difficulties faced by people in these areas. Lacking local job opportunities, travelling for work or social activities is also relatively difficult, these factors compound issues for men in particular who been struggling for years with poor mental health and suicidal thoughts and feelings. There are many well-known risk factors for this group, we want to engage through sound and find the opportunities to help them at critical points before they reach crisis. Community-based services focused on fostering connection and community that are relevant to them. Our unique partnership connects communities with sound based activities to support better mental health.
Inclusivity :Echo Point is a socially impartial and all-inclusive participation project and for benefit of all people. Especially those isolated and vulnerable and in areas of socio-economic disadvantage allowing access to those who may be cut off from innovation of wellbeing and creative technology. The product opens up inclusive dialogue about mental health across all groups and builds initiative for nesting between these groups. The data gathering and sourcing of community sounds means the project is direct in supporting inclusion, building an empathy date set which can empower the user by feeling valued.
Project Devices Assets and Access :We have 8 project devices 7 of which allow access to the experience.By scanning the QR code or visiting the website a person can experience the soundscape and guided breathing instructions.QR codes store information using black and white squares which can be “read” by smartphones, using QR codes is quicker than manually typing in something like a long web address into a smartphone. Some smartphones can automatically “read” a QR code when it appears in your smartphone camera.The sound then connects the user to a focused breathing exercise to reduce their agitation and reduce a negative thought patterns into more positive ones resulting in a noted behavioural change.
Our resilience tool kit comes with the following Project Devices:
- Contact card : (personal device ) a discreet business card size with the simple instruction to scan QR code
- Digital Sticker : (public facing device) a data transfer sticker with NFC (Near field communication) that detects and then enables technology in close proximity to communicate without the need for an internet connection. It's easy, fast and works automatically.
- QR Code Sticker : (public facing device) smart sticker with the simple instruction to scan QR code.
- QR Code Window Sticker for business : (public facing device) smart sticker with the simple instruction to scan QR code.
- QR Code Post Card with project explanation (public and personal facing device)smart postcard with the simple instruction to scan QR code.
- Community Officer Tabard with scannable QR code (public facing device) : wearable tabard for active officer operating with in supportive organisations with the simple instruction to scan QR code
- Solar Powered Sound bench or post
These assets will be shared with the Cornish Farming and Fishing Communities , communities which are under immense stress from recent issues and are effected historically by stress and depression. Echo Point is a resilience tool kit for these communities to help them sustain good mental health in vulnerable times.