Auto Trader Ltd
Farminguk
25 August 2016 | Online since 2003
Auto Trader Ltd


29 May 2014 04:00:26 |News

Increased risk of suicide among flood-hit farmers


Fears of an increase in the number of suicides amongst UK farmers in the wake of spiralling debt caused by the effects of winter flooding, have triggered a joint nationwide initiative to help identify those at greatest risk.
The Farming Community Network charity has joined forces with the Campaign for Awareness of Mental Illness Among Debtors (CAMIAD) to help provide local “lifelines” for farmers who might be facing overwhelming debt putting them at risk of suicide and self-harm.
Together, 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.
“There is seldom a month goes by that 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,” says Charles Smith, Chief Executive of the Northampton-based FCN.
“It is all too frequent a situation that our volunteers have to deal with and there is now a very real possibility that the number of suicides among farmers will increase in the months ahead as they have to face the financial consequences of the winter flooding.
“Farmers will do anything to protect their livestock and protect farms that have been passed down from generation to generation and this can add enormous pressure to what, even in normal circumstances, is an acutely stressful business. Sadly, often farmers in debt and distress do not call us for help until the bailiff is walking down their drive.”
He said that over the country as a whole farmers are known to be in high risk group of dying by suicide and in the financial aftermath of the flooding those risks could be heightened.
Farmers, he explained, who incurred considerable additional costs to ensure the welfare of their animals during the floods were now, as the water is receding, likely to be facing the realisation of huge debts coupled with concerns that similar problems could affect their livelihood next year.
Currently, the Network’s team of 350 volunteers nationwide is dealing with crises at several hundred farms seriously affected by flooding, especially on the Somerset Levels. “There are also especially acute problems among upland farmers who frequently have to contend with the worst weather. There are many such farmers who, in fact, are still recovering from the effects of the severe snow of the previous winter,” he said.
“Farmers will tend to do anything to ensure that their animals are fed and looked after and in emergencies debts can rack up very quickly.”
Mr Smith said that that mental health issues among the UK’s farming community were “very common and more evident than people would imagine” with between 50-60 percent of those supported by the FCN found to have financial problems of varying degree.
“These problems are compounded by the fact that generally they are a very private and proud section of the community who tend not to speak openly about their problems or divulge them to others. Many can suffer from depression in a world that tends to be isolated from the rest of the community” he said.
In the majority of cases, he said that farmers faced with distressing debt would initially seek advice from their own accountant or solicitor who, in turn and if appropriate, would direct them on to specialist financial help.
“These professionals have the skills to deal with the debt and general financial issues but are very unlikely to have the training to recognise if an individual is suffering any mental health issues or know how to signpost them on for counselling or treatment as appropriate even if such problems are identified,” said CAMIAD co-founder Ian Williamson, an insolvency practitioner in Blackpool, Lancashire and Northwich, Cheshire.
Against this background CAMIAD, is reinforcing its efforts to identify professionals dealing with debtors in rural areas and train them to be aware of underlying mental health issues including the risk of suicide. “If these issues are recognised and acted upon lives can be saved” he added.
The one-day CAMIAD training course has been developed by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and is delivered by mental health professionals at hosted venues and business organisations around the UK.
Chief trainer Nigel Crompton, a senior mental health nurse, said: “During debt counselling, suicide is often the elephant in the room and professionals, who don’t have training in such matters, are often wary about raising the issue with debtors.
“Our experience has shown, however, that most people will experience a great sense of relief if they are feeling suicidal and are asked about it in the right way.”

Download

0 Comment

loginuserlogo
Name

Please enter your name


Email

Please enter your email

Please enter valid email


Comment

Please enter your comment


Post Comment

Your comment has been submitted successfully. Please wait for admin approval.


Comments

No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment


Ireland | 25 August 2016
EU worry at lack of GM food testing in Ireland

Inspectors from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety said the lack of laboratory capacity at the Public Analyst’s Laboratory (PAL), which is located in St Finbarr’s...


France | 25 August 2016
French farmers may face more pain as dry weather hits crops

French farmers can’t seem to catch a break from the weather. After deluges earlier this year decimated wheat crops, now not enough rain is threatening their corn. Many fields in the European Union’...


France | 25 August 2016
French farmers protest over low milk prices outside major milk processor

Some 400 French dairy farmers have blockaded the roads around Lactalis, the milk processor based in Laval, France, this week in protest against low milk prices. The farmers have taken over the roun...


USA | 25 August 2016
The next agriculture revolution is under our feet

At the core of agriculture is innovation. Advancements in agricultural technology throughout the past century have allowed farmers to feed a population that has grown from less than 2 billion people t...


Australia | 25 August 2016
Dairy industry goes under spotlight as Barnaby Joyce signals end to $1 milk

Scott Morrison has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the national dairy industry as the agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, emerged from a dairy crisis meeting d...



Trending Now

Viewed
Discussed


Top stories you may have missed
FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The British public are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping or strengthening...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The sustained recovery of pig prices since the spring has come at a time wh...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel has declared the Russian import ban ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A new study has linked oilseed rape crops grown from neonicotinoid-treated ...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Philip Hammond is to guarantee billions of pounds of UK government investme...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Access to the foreign labour market is 'critical', according the chief exec...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The Tenant Farmers Association has said the National Trust's vision for a p...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

Ulster farmers will 'not lie down and wave the white flag' when Brexit nego...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

The cost of rural crime to the UK economy costs £42.5 million a year, accor...


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo

FarmingUK

A young farmers club member from Oxfordshire has created a petition on the ...


closeicon
Username
Password