Supporting mental well-being in Agriculture

couple hugging on wall next to sea
Despite campaigns promoting an open discussion about mental health, the statistics in the UK are still alarming. Research indicates that 1 in 6 adults in the UK will be suffering with mental ill health symptoms at any given time – that’s roughly 11 million people. Every week in the UK, one agricultural worker will sadly commit suicide. Whilst more women are diagnosed with mental illness than men, of all the suicides in the UK, 75% are male.

Causes of mental ill-health in Agriculture

To those working in the agricultural sector, the causes behind poor mental health in the industry will likely not be a surprise. Workplace isolation, lone working and long and unsociable working hours are one set of factors. Combine this with financial concern, increasingly irregular weather patterns, animal disease and Brexit uncertainty, it’s no surprise that farming is a stressful environment.

How to spot when someone is unwell

The NHS highlights both the psychological, physical and social symptoms of depression, which can be categorised into mild, moderate and severe. These can include (but aren’t limited to):
– Feeling irritable and intolerant of others
– Finding it difficult to make decisions
– Feeling hopeless and helpless
– Changes in appetite
– Unexplained aches and pains
– Disturbed sleep
– Avoiding social activities
– Difficulties in home and family life

How and where to get support

If you have concerns about yourself, family, friends, neighbours or colleagues, there is help available, with a focus on the agriculture and farming industry.

If you are concerned about someone else’s mental health, the DPJ Foundation suggest:
A- Ask how they are feeling
L- Listen: the most important thing you can do
G- Give reassurance
E- Encourage to get professional help.
E- Encourage self-help

YANA highlights that you can also raise concerns to the person’s GP.

If you yourself are experiencing symptoms which you think could be mental illness, we urge you to seek professional help. As well as your GP, there are charities which are able to support you financially, give advice and offer therapies and counselling.
You can access services and support through:
R.A.B.I – 0808 281 9490
R.S.A.B.I – 0300 111 4166
YANA – 0300 323 0400
The Addington Fund – 01926 620135
Lincolnshire Rural Support Network – 0800 138 1710
Nottinghamshire Rural Support – 0800 138 1710
Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services – 01833 641010
DPJ Foundation – 0800 587 4262
The FCN – 03000 111 999
Mind– 0300 123 3393
Contact us for more information.