Help on the end of the phone
Health and safety on farms takes many different forms and one which is too often ignored is mental health and wellbeing.
Agriculture is an industry which has a difficult relationship with good mental health and the willingness to seek help for it. That is why this year’s Farm Safety Week included a day highlighting the importance of good mental health and wellbeing and who those working in agriculture can speak to if they need help.
In the UK, one farmer commits suicide every week. This is a stark and damning figure and if you considered adding it to the figures for ‘fatal injuries on farms’ you would see that number more than double.
The cases of farmers suffering from mental health issues do not have to end tragically, there are places to go to and people to speak to.
In a confidential case study, provided by agricultural charity the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution - RSABI - ‘Adam’ was suffering from stress when his employer urged him to contact RSABI.
Adam is in his forties and lives with his wife and young daughter and has been employed in agriculture his entire working life.
After contacting RSABI, Adam was visited by a case officer who listened to the issues and both her and Adam looked at the family’s finances and discussed the options that may be available for him to pursue.
He said: “RSABI pointed me in the right direction.
“The help and support I have received from RSABI has made such a big difference to me and my family. Knowing there is someone there to talk to has helped my stress levels too.”
Mags Granger, RSABI Welfare Manager, added: “We listen, that’s the very first thing we do.
“If someone comes to us directly, we take the opportunity to chat, we can offer services if they need counselling or they just want one of our case officers to go around and visit.
“We talk about any pressures and look at any practical help we can give towards to alleviating some of these worries.
“Apparently, there is quite a large correlation between people who are suffering from a low mood and accidents occurring. You also might not be as aware of the safety aspects as your mind is being taken up by other stuff.
“And generally, sometimes just not getting the job done at all itself can lead to farm safety injuries.
“Our helpline is open to anyone working within the industry who needs help. It can be reached on 0300 111 4166.”