Video: Empty wellies highlight issue of mental health

Each welly represents a farmer who took their own life in the past year (Photo: DPJ Foundation)
Each welly represents a farmer who took their own life in the past year (Photo: DPJ Foundation)

Powerful images produced by a leading farming charity shows dozens of empty wellies, each representing a farmer who has taken their own life in the past year.

The issue of mental health in the farming industry has been highlighted today on World Mental Health Day.

The annual initiative is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world.

It provides an opportunity for farmers to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for the industry.

The issue is one of the biggest health topics in the UK at present - one in four people have been diagnosed with a mental illness and in farming, it continues to be of great concern.

The leading cause of death for people aged between 20 and 34 is suicide - and approximately, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than one agricultural worker a week in the UK takes their own life.

Looking to combat this, the DPJ Foundation has released images and a video of 52 empty wellies, each pair representing a farmer who has taken his or her own life in the past 12 months.

(Photo: DPJ Foundation)
(Photo: DPJ Foundation)

Emma Picton-Jones, founder of the charity, said: “We wanted to mark World Mental Health day in a special way this year.

“We decided to create the image as a visual reminder of the issues that are facing the sector in the hope it will encourage those in the sector to speak out and ask for help.”

Emma, a young mum and primary school teacher from Pembrokeshire, lost her 27-year-old husband Dan, an agricultural contractor, when he took his own life in 2017.

Through the DPJ (Daniel Picton-Jones) Foundation, which Emma set up soon after losing her husband, it has been able to provide a 24/7 telephone helpline and texting service, as well as one-to-one counselling from qualified counsellors.

For more information or support from the charity call 0800 587 4262 or text 07860 048799 - 24 hours a day 7 days a week.