Agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide of any occupation, and at this time of year the pressures of lambing, long hours working alone late into the night, with little rest and often no one to talk to, can increase the pressures on farmers.
The Farmers’ Union of Wales has been running a two year campaign ‘It’s okay to talk’, in co-operation with mental health charities, spotlighting issues that can result in tragedy across the rural community.
“The ‘stiff upper lip’ is typical within the rural farming community and most farmers just get on with things,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts. “Many may be hiding problems from themselves and their families and friends and talking about personal feelings is uncomfortable for.
“We’ve faced some pretty low-points as a farming community in the last few years, TB, price volatility and, especially now, uncertainty about our future post-Brexit,” which puts a strain on us all. Now it’s time to break the stigma attached to mental health and remember ‘It’s okay to talk’,” said Glyn.
WORRIED ABOUT SOMEONE?
A - Ask how they are feeling- asking someone if they are suicidal isn’t going to make them do it. Be patient, wait for them to talk, maybe they want to talk to someone else.
L - Listen: the most important thing - don’t be judgemental, treat them with respect. Show you really care, that you see things from their point of view. The touch of a hand or a hug can go a long way.
G - Give reassurance - these feelings can be overcome, things can and do change. Help is out there and there is hope
E - Encourage them to get professional help.
E - Encourage self help, give practical support and help with any extra pressure. What to do if they have suicidal feelings - who to contact, what to do.
REMEMBER - DON’T put them down, abandon or reject them, don’t relax your attention or nag, intrude or criticise their actions – this isn’t about you.
The single most effective thing you can do to help yourself is to talk. Talk about your struggles and about what you are feeling. Not sure who to talk to?