NFU asks farmers to make mental health a priority

The third annual Mind Your Head campaign is raising awareness of the issues facing farmers today and the link between farm safety and mental health
The third annual Mind Your Head campaign is raising awareness of the issues facing farmers today and the link between farm safety and mental health

The NFU has asked farmers across the UK to make mental health a priority during this week's #MindYourHead campaign.

The annual industry initiative is focusing on the physical and mental wellbeing of an industry under pressure.

It also aims to educate those living and working in the UK’s agricultural communities about the various mental health threats facing them.

The NFU is joining in on efforts in raising awareness, urging farmers to recognise the importance of making mental wellbeing a priority.



NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts said that while farming is a sector full of innovative and resilient people, like any industry it comes with challenges.

“Like many business owners, farmers can struggle with stress, worries and anxiety, and with the isolated nature of farming these feelings can often be amplified,” he said.



“Dealing with mental health issues can be incredibly difficult but help is at hand. For many people, the first step is recognising when there is a problem and talking to someone about it and, where needed, getting professional help.

“I would urge anyone struggling to cope with any issue to open up to someone they trust. We can all do more to listen and make time for each other.”

Mr Roberts has raised the issue of funding for mental health treatment in the NHS with the former Chief Medical Officer and Defra ministers.

He has also spoken to Lord Gardiner, who is the Defra representative on the team to develop a strategy to combat loneliness in society.

Lord Gardiner has looked at how poor broadband and mobile phone coverage affect rural areas, as well as how village halls could reduce rural isolation.

In particular, Mr Roberts highlighted the issue of mental health in the rural community.

He said: “In general the industry is made up of lots of people, some of who are like me, we are butch, macho blokes, we don’t have anxiety, we don’t have worries, we don’t have concerns, we don’t have fears – well, yes we do.



“We forget that there’s a question mark at the end of ‘how are you?’ And we have all got to get better at that because it will come into very sharp focus as we start to see big changes.”