Actor Kelvin Fletcher advocates farmers’ mental health

A well-known English actor and farmer, Kelvin Fletcher, speaks up about breaking the stigma surrounding mental health among farmers. 

Kelvin Fletcher with Cordex team and Will Taylor of Farmers Guide.
Kelvin Fletcher with Cordex team and Will Taylor of Farmers Guide.

According to a recent study done by the Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies), poor mental health among farmers and agricultural workers is of growing concern. 95% of UK farmers under the age of 40 rank poor mental health as one of the biggest hidden problems facing farmers nowadays.  

To celebrate the launch of the annual Mind Your Head campaign from 12th to 16th of February 2024, the charity invited Kelvin Fletcher to speak about farmers’ mental health struggles.  

Mr Fletcher, English actor-turned farmer and one of the stars from Fletchers on the Farm said that his decision to get involved in the campaign advocating for mental health stems from his first-hand experience in agriculture. He became a farmer in 2021 after purchasing a 120-acre farm in the Peak District. 

Isolation and pressure 

Mr Fletcher added: “I recognise the unique challenges we face, from battling the isolation of rural life to managing the pressures of unpredictable weather and market fluctuations. 

“Throughout my journey, I’ve encountered my share of mental health struggles, but I firmly believe in the resilience of farmers. Breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is crucial, and I’m committed to promoting well-being within our community.” 

Mr Fletcher added that by prioritising mental health, farmers not only safeguard their own well-being, but also contribute to the sustainability and resilience of farming, which is vital for the entire country. 

“My advice centres on fostering open communication, seeking out support networks, and prioritising self-care practices to navigate the challenges of farming while maintaining mental wellness,” he said. 

Relentless season 

The effects of the relentless season of storms have had huge consequences for those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the land. Fields flooded, crops destroyed, and animals in danger have made recent headlines, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.  

READ MORE:  Farmers count losses yet again after Storm Henk hits the country

The UK’s farming industry has faced many challenges over the past few years, but the emerging mental health challenge may prove the most devastating. The Farm Safety Foundation’s research also showed a very clear relationship between average working hours and mental health (as measured by WEMWBS).  

Farmers who work shorter hours demonstrated higher levels of mental wellbeing. 61% of farmers surveyed work at least a 10-hour day, 15% working a 14- or 15-hour day, with many rarely or never taking a day off. This is something that is giving charities like the Farm Safety Foundation real cause for concern. 

In an industry that continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK, making sure farmers are prioritising their physical and mental wellbeing has never been more important.  

21 farm workers lost their lives in farm accidents in 2022/2023, and there were 36 suicides registered in England and Wales by those working in the farming and agricultural industry in 2021, according to the Office of National Statistics.  

Mind Your Head 

This week, the charity has been focusing on the issue through its seventh annual Mind Your Head campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the various challenges facing the UK’s farming industry and break down the stigma attached to poor mental health in the farming sector.

READ MORE: Farmers urged to seek mental health support on Blue Monday – and beyond

Watch the video of a social experiment carried out at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair where members of the public interact with a young farmer, who, blindfolded, carries a sign saying, “95% of young farmers in the UK say that poor mental health is the biggest hidden danger in the industry. If you agree, give me a hug or take a flower.” 

For more information on the Mind Your Head campaign, please visit or follow them on social media – @yellowwelliesUK on Facebook, Instagram and X using the hashtag #MindYourHead. 

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