Farmers have been sharing their experiences of mental health this week in a bid to encourage others to seek help.
Former sheep farmer turned BBC reporter Gareth Barlow highlighted the ‘unspoken challenges’ facing the farming community in a short film aired on Monday (April 15) evening.
The piece featured dairy farmer Allan McCamley and his son Jonathan, who have both struggled with mental health following Allan’s divorce and a crash in milk prices.
Jonathan said: “Too often people go and lift meat or milk off the shelf and do not think about where it has come from or what heartache and stress has gone into producing it.
“There is a slight stigma around mental health in farming. But talking to someone about it would lighten the load, even temporarily.
“It is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something that happens to people and it needs to be rectified whether it be see a doctor or talking to a friend.”
Office for National Statistics data shows one agricultural worker commits suicide every week in the UK.
Emma Picton-Jones, whose husband Daniel, an agricultural contractor took his own life aged 26, said her charity, the DPJ Foundation was working with farmers across Pembrokeshire to raise awareness and support those with mental health issues.
It offers a Share the Load telephone service where farmers can call for advice or set up a meeting with a counsellor.
The farmers’ accounts prompted other farmers to take to social media to help raise awareness.
NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts said: “We need to start treating mental wellbeing as we would a physical injury. We must recognise when there is a problem. We must be able to talk about it and ask for help.”
For more information and help, visit FGinsight.com/mentalhealth