Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day (10th September), farming groups are reminding farmers to seek help if they are struggling with poor mental health.
Estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest more than one agricultural worker a week dies by suicide in the UK, and it is feared farmers will be at even greater risk this year as a result of increased isolation and other stressors associated with Covid-19.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) urged rural communities to stand side by side with those suffering from poor mental health.
Speaking from his farm in North Wales, FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “These are difficult times we live in. Many farmers and those living in rural communities often find themselves working alone for most of the day or feel isolated. There are so many uncertainties, stresses, and worries, putting pressure on us that might leave us feeling that we can no longer cope.”
Mr Roberts added that even though farmers are encouraged to speak up and seek help, sometimes they feel they can’t and it is important to come together as a community with family and friends.
“Sometimes those suffering from poor mental health don’t want to talk about the things that have them feeling the way they do. So, if you notice that a loved one is sad, not quite themselves or withdrawn – reach out to them. Ask them how they are feeling, listen to them, and reassure them that these feelings can be overcome.
“Together we can make progress in preventing suicides but we must stand side by side and lose the stigma that sadly still clings on,” he added.
Organisations that can offer help and support include:
Farming Community Network: 03000 111 999
Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution: 0808 281 9490
DPJ Foundation: Call 0800 587 4262 or text 07860 048799
Samaritans: 116 123
Mind: 0300 123 3393