Farmer to start 'care farm' to help battle industry's 'solitary' nature

Dairy farmer Eurig Evans is currently training to become a counsellor (Photo: Mentar A Busnes)
Dairy farmer Eurig Evans is currently training to become a counsellor (Photo: Mentar A Busnes)

A Pembrokeshire dairy farmer is set to combat farming's 'solitary' nature by creating a 'care farm' to help farmers and others who are struggling.

Eurig Evans, who is training to become a counsellor, hopes to invite people with mental health issues onto his 200-acre farm near Fishguard.

Poor mental health continues to be the biggest health topic in the UK - one in four people have been diagnosed with a mental illness and in farming, mental health issues continue to be of great concern.

A recent survey shows that 81% of farmers under the age of 40 believe that mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today, and 92% believe that promoting good mental health is crucial if lives are to be saved.

The overall illness rate for agricultural workers is 46% higher than the industry average, and stress, depression and anxiety are significant causes of ill health alongside musculoskeletal disorders and lung disease.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Evans said that farmers don't necessarily see anyone in a day, saying: “Leaving the farm, even for one hour, is therapy in itself.”

He now wants to expand his skills to reach his dream of becoming a care farm, so those suffering from mental health difficulties can visit.

The farm will enable people to get up close to animals by encouraging activities such as lambing and milking.

“If you can turn someone living with heroin addiction around, you can do anything,” he said.

Economic development business Menter a Busnes has teamed up with Mind Cymru to raise awareness of mental health in Wales.

It comes as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified stress, depression and anxiety as some the main causes of work-related ill health for farmers.