Poor mental health is biggest hidden problem, say farmers
A recent study by a rural charity has revealed poor mental health among farmers and agricultural workers is of growing concern.
The study by the Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) revealed, from a sample of 450 farmers under the age of 40, 95 per cent of respondents agreed that poor mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing the industry today.
In addition, the research showed a very clear relationship between average working hours and mental health.
Those with shorter working hours demonstrated higher levels of mental wellbeing.
Some 61 per cent of farmers surveyed work at least a 10-hour day, while 15 per cent working a 14 to 15-hour day with many rarely or never taking a day off.
This week, the charity will be focusing on the issue through its seventh annual Mind Your Head campaign.
The campaign will continue to raise awareness of the various challenges facing the UK’s farming industry, break down the stigma attached to poor mental health in the farming sector, but recognise that there are steps being taken to address it.
Stephanie Berkeley, Manager of the Farm Safety Foundation said: “Mind Your Head launched in 2018 when concerns about Brexit, policies, administration and legislation were causing increased anxiety in the industry.
"Fast forward seven years and the campaign has grown and is now recognised by 67 per cent of farmers in the UK. Mental health is always a sensitive subject but it’s something that is thankfully growing in importance and profile. The answer to the question “who cares?” is everyone – and everyone should.
"Agriculture is a proud and hardworking industry and vital to the UK economy. Far from being downtrodden, the UK’s farmers are resilient and resourceful and committed to finding ways to tackle any challenge they face.
"Over the years we’ve been encouraged by the growing numbers of farm businesses and organisations wanting to learn more about how to help their workers and suppliers as well the incredible individuals taking steps to improve their mental wellbeing and, in this year’s campaign, we will be highlighting them and hopefully inspiring many more to do the same.”
For more information on the Mind Your Head campaign please visit yellowwellies.org