The Farming Community Network (FCN) charity has joined forces with the Campaign for Awareness of Mental Illness Among Debtors to help provide local ‘lifelines’ for farmers who might be facing overwhelming debt putting them at risk of suicide and self-harm.
They plan to draw up a list of accountants, solicitors, insolvency practitioners and other professionals serving rural communities who have been specially trained to recognise if farmers with serious debt have underlying mental health issues and could be at breaking point.
FCN chief executive Charles Smith said: “There is seldom a month goes by when one of our volunteers is not called to help a farmer who has contemplated suicide because of debt or to help the bereaved family of a farmer who has died by suicide.
“It is all too frequent a situation our volunteers have to deal with and there is now a very real possibility the number of suicides among farmers will increase in the months ahead as they have to face the financial consequences of winter flooding.”
Mr Smith said farmers were often ‘too proud’ to ask for help and added mental health issues among the rural community were ‘very common’.