Mental health charity boosted by farming union support

1 in 4 people will suffer with mental health problems in their lifetime
1 in 4 people will suffer with mental health problems in their lifetime

A charity which supports people in the farming community with mental health difficulties will be the focus of a union's charitable cause for two years.

The ‘stiff upper lip’ is synonymous with the farming community and most farmers just get on with things.

Some farmers may be hiding problems from themselves and their families and friends, and talking about personal feelings is uncomfortable for many.

Recognising the problem, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has made a commitment to raise awareness of mental health problems in rural communities.

It has announced that the DPJ Foundation has been chosen as the FUW's charitable cause for 2019 - 2021.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “1 in 4 people will suffer with mental health problems in their lifetime, it is not an uncommon illness and one which we need to work together to tackle.

“Sadly, agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide above any other occupation. Concerns about the unpredictable weather, animal disease, support payments and the impact of Brexit are weighing on the minds of many farmers.

“Coupled with the loneliness and isolation that comes with farming means that farmers and agricultural workers are highly susceptible to poor mental wellbeing.

“Failing to deal with that could lead to all sorts of issues, such as the farm running inefficiently, a serious injury, relationship breakdowns, poor physical health and, even worse, it could lead to suicide.

Mr Roberts added: “Let’s remember that 16.7% of the population have had suicidal thoughts and in 2014 6,581 died by suicide in the UK, three and a half times as many as on UK roads.”

“That is why the work of the DPJ Foundation is so important and we are excited about supporting their efforts over the next 2 years,” he said.

Emma Picton-Jones, founder of the charity, lost her farmer husband after he took his own life aged just 27.

She is now keen to promote awareness of mental health in rural communities.

Ms Picton-Jones said: “Having worked closely with the FUW this year it was fantastic to hear that we have been chosen as the next charity.

“The work the FUW do to support the awareness of the charity is already making a difference and to be able to continue that will mean the word around mental health will continue to reach bigger audiences.

“We can’t thank everyone involved enough for their continued support.”