Men in Agriculture:
Financial pressures, hard work, long hours, the average farmer working 65hrs per week in the UK and working alone are just some of the pressures facing men who work on and around farms.
There is also a lot of uncertainty about the future of farming, especially in the current political climate and according to the ONS, sadly more than one agricultural worker a week dies by suicide.
Farming is a traditionally stoic profession in which the farmer solves problems themselves; the latter, an important skill to have when working alone.
Trying to work out solutions to personal problems on your own isn’t always easy though and is often counter-productive.
What is being done to help?
Experienced Farmers like Jo Meggeto are opening up about their issues. In a newspaper article he discusses, ‘dark times’, involving persistent suicidal thoughts. Luckily with the help of his wife, he talked to his best man and got the ball rolling.
Young farmers are opening up too – Ben Brooksby is The Naked Farmer raising awareness of mental health issues in farming though his own experiences and quite a few pictures of himself naked on the farm!
Charities locally and across the nation have been also been set up to help agricultural workers in need.
For example there is the Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services providing support and listening services for those in need.
Nationally there is YANA (You Are Not Alone), providing help for those in farming who are suffering from stress and depression.
Two Tips for Connecting:
• Find someone you can trust to open up to. Sometimes we feel like we may be a burden to others and have to be strong for everyone else.
Even if that someone has problems, it is often a gift for them to be able to be there for someone else.
It can be hard to find the right person straight way, so, if at first you don’t succeed keep searching – there are willing people in all walks of life.
• Get off the farm and do something you love after work. Even if it’s just once a week, this can really lift your mood. Look out for local clubs and activities. Start the search today.