Managing mental health is emerging as one of the biggest challenges facing the farming industry, with research highlighting its increasing gravitas.
The powerful image (above), produced by The DPJ Foundation, shows 52 pairs of wellies, one pair for each farmer who has taken their own life in the last 12 months.
One farmer every week in the UK dies by suicide, one-in-four will be diagnosed with a mental illness and the overall illness rate for agricultural workers is 46 per cent higher than the industry average.
But now more than ever, raising awareness of mental health illness is a prominent area and research by the Farm Safety Foundation’s Mind Your Head campaign revealed an overwhelming 92 per cent of farmers believe good mental health is crucial in the battle to protect and save lives.
of farmers aged 40 and under believe poor mental health is the biggest hidden problem faced by farmers today.
in the UK dies by suicide.
are among the main causes of work-related ill health in agriculture.
in farming have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
isolation, financial pressure, bad weather and natural disasters are risk factors for mental health.
Farmers Guardian has teamed up with Waitrose and Farming Community Network (FCN) to help facilitate this belief and help farmers and their families build personal and professional resilience.
Resilience John Gregson, Waitrose partner and communications manager, corporate social responsibility, health and agriculture, believes through good mental health comes the resilience farmers need as they face into these unpredictable times.
He says: “Many of us who work for Waitrose and Partners have a farming background and some have first-hand experience through immediate family or friends of the kinds of anguish which can come from not having someone to talk to when life gets tough.
“Farmers are not known for being great at opening up with people about their problems.
However, reaching out to FCN can be the first step on a journey of talking through problems with a trusted individual who will ‘walk with you’ through whatever difficulties you are facing.
“The hardest part is admitting you can use a little help and would value someone to talk with who understands the problems you are facing.
“FCN can give you this support; all you have to do is reach out and they will be there for you.”
Starting the week with the positivity to progress, Farmers Guardian will be taking to social media channels to promote good mental health, helping you build up resilience, dispel common myths, share information on who and what can help and offer best practice to help support farmers and their families.
The industry has individuals and groups of people determined not to give up in the face of adversity and inspire positive change in others. Listen to the journeys of others who have suffered or are suffering from mental health illnesses and how, by speaking up and seeking help, they have worked through tough times.
There has never been a better time to continue raising awareness of the steps farmers can take to safeguard mental health. You will find information on help available for those facing hardship; videos of farmers talking about mental health; initiatives established to help farmers; and how to build resilience.
Dedicated newsletters will house the content we create and will feature articles surrounding the promotion of good mental health, agricultural mental health initiatives, farmer stories, topical speakers and self-help tips to improve your week beyond the farm gate. Sign up at FGinsight.com/FarmersStriveToThrive