Mental health can be a taboo subject for many people, with rural communities being no exception.
With the nights drawing in and the weather continuing its run of bad form, the darker nights and colder temperatures can be a trigger for many who suffer with mental health problems to face even bigger despair.
If a person has a physical ailment they can seek a solution to a tangible and visible problem. The challenge with mental health is the issues can be so underlying those suffering from them may not immediately appear to need help. But their need is no less than someone who has, say, a broken bone or incapacitating injury.
The steps to help, however, can be fraught and are not just tied up in diagnosis, but also in discussion – not something farming families or communities are always good at when it comes to sensitive subjects. You only have to look at how often thorny issues around succession and family conflict are ducked to realise that.
Giving mental health problems the respect they deserve is key if treatment is to be sought, yet in agricultural communities it can be something people do not want to address, trying to laugh it off or claim an individual’s potentially erratic behaviour is just part of their make-up.
This week’s World Mental Health Day is one of many events or dates which help raise awareness of the issue, and it is a subject which gets far more coverage in the media than it would have done when the initiative began back in 1992.
While there might be more awareness of the issue nowadays, the growing cacophony of modern life, with 24-hour connectivity and the pressures of social media mean all generations are potentially at threat from mental health problems.
The rural community has always thrived in helping out its own, and if you suspect someone is at risk, or you are feeling down yourself, then reach out for help. Doing nothing is always the worst course of action.