Farming union launches 'It's okay to talk' campaign

Poor mental health continues to be the biggest health topic in the UK
Poor mental health continues to be the biggest health topic in the UK

The Farmers' Union of Wales has launched its campaign 'It's okay to talk' to shine a light on mental health issues in the farming industry.

The campaign, now in its second year, is launched in co-operation with mental health charities, spotlighting issues that can result in tragedy across the rural community.

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, this issue continues 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.

Agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide of any occupation, and at this time of year the pressures of lambing, long hours working alone late into the night, with little rest and often no one to talk to, can increase the pressures on farmers.

Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) President, Glyn Roberts said: “The ‘stiff upper lip’ is typical within the rural farming community and most farmers just get on with things.

“Many may be hiding problems from themselves and their families and friends and talking about personal feelings is uncomfortable for.”

He added: “We’ve faced some pretty low-points as a farming community in the last few years, TB, price volatility and, especially now, uncertainty about our future post-Brexit,” which puts a strain on us all.

“Now it’s time to break the stigma attached to mental health and remember ‘It’s okay to talk’.”

The union said the acronym 'A.L.G.E.E' can help people deal with those who are suffering with mental health issues.


A - Ask how they are feeling- asking someone if they are suicidal isn’t going to make them do it. Be patient, wait for them to talk, maybe they want to talk to someone else.

L - Listen, the most important thing. Don’t be judgemental, treat them with respect. Show you really care, that you see things from their point of view. The touch of a hand or a hug can go a long way.

G - Give reassurance - these feelings can be overcome, things can and do change. Help is out there and there is hope

E - Encourage them to get professional help.

E - Encourage self help, give practical support and help with any extra pressure. What to do if they have suicidal feelings - who to contact, what to do.