Farmers affected by mental health issues urged to seek help

Agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide above any other occupation
Agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide above any other occupation

Those farmers going through a tough time have been encouraged to seek help as World Suicide Prevention Day gets underway today.

The worldwide initiative, which takes place on 10 September ever year, aims to shine a spotlight on action to prevent suicide.

One person takes their own life every 40 seconds and more people die by suicide every year than in war, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is using this day to urge farmers and farm workers battling with mental health difficulties to seek help.



Levels of depression within the industry are thought to be increasing in the UK and suicide rates, particularly for males under 40, are among the highest in any occupational group.

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



FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Poor mental health is an issue that affects the farming community greatly and it is well known that loneliness and social isolation can lead to mental health problems.

“The FUW understands that failing to deal with poor mental wellbeing could have serious consequences and lead to the farm running inefficiently, a serious injury, relationship breakdowns, poor physical health and even worse, it could lead to suicide.”

He added that everyone can make a contribution in preventing suicide and believes that it is by joining together, those suffering can be better supported.

“Suicidal behaviour is universal and it knows no boundaries. It can affect anyone and therefore we all have a role to play to collectively address the challenges.

“Of course, preventing suicide often requires the efforts of many, like family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, healthcare professionals, and governments.

“We must remember that every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide there are countless other people who suffer intense grief,” Mr Roberts said.

The overall illness rate for agricultural workers, which includes stress, depression and anxiety, is 46 percent higher than the industry average.



There is help available with rural-based charities such as the Farming Community Network, the DPJ Foundation and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) helping farmers who are suffering from mental health difficulties.