Virtual Royal Welsh Show Webinar – Mental Health: How are you doing?

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On the day of the Royal Welsh Show that I would probably have enjoyed participating in my first of the firm’s annual Professional Breakfasts, I instead viewed  one of the virtual show’s sessions, “Mental Health: How are you doing”?

It was staggering to hear from the Chief Executive of Tir Dewi that, when surveyed, 51% of farmers said they had or were suffering from mental health issues in some way.

The common message that came through from each the participants was the importance of engaging with other people and talking things through – not allowing yourself to bottle things up. As we all know, some of us who come from an agricultural background are not good at talking about our feelings! The clear message however was to try and push yourself to do so. If you don’t feel able to talk to your family or friends then pick up the phone and speak to an organisation like Tir Dewi and the DPJ Foundation. They are specialised in helping people who work in agriculture  deal with the pressures and emotions that come from working in the sector. Also – to all those who are worried about the mental health of a colleague, family friend or loved one – try and help them talk about their feelings or seek help,  and be gently persistent in doing so.

Particularly interesting so far as Agri Advisor is concerned was to hear Emma Picton-Jones of the DPJ Foundation talk about succession concerns being a major factor in many farmers’ mental health – worries about who will take over the farm, how to share it out, will they make a good job of it? She spoke of the importance of talking about these things – planning things properly rather than leaving them to fester – and the advantages that can sometimes come from involving a third party professional in such discussions.

It was an eye-opening insight into one of the more hidden issues affecting rural communities today.