Shadow Minister calls for digital campaign to challenge mental health stigma among nation's farmers

The Welsh Conservatives’ Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Rural Affairs – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has today (23 July) urged the Welsh Government to do more to help ‘challenge the stigma’ of mental health among the nation’s farming community.

Her intervention comes as the Farmers' Union of Wales holds its ‘Mental Health – How are you doing?’ session as part of this year’s virtual Royal Welsh Show. The event, held together with the leading farming charities in Wales, will allow participants to look at what has changed, how far the sector has come and what issues remain.

Speaking of the issue, Janet said:

“The sudden and striking impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Welsh farming community has once again shone a light on the precarious position that many farmers find themselves in, as isolation and long-term financial pressures have been compounded by sudden and uncontrollable factors.

“A recent shocking analysis of the sector has found that one agricultural worker in the UK takes their own life each week. Some 84% of farmers under 40 also now believe that mental health is the single biggest danger facing the industry.

“More must be done to support our farm hands and agricultural workers. I welcome tonight’s discussion of the issue at this year’s virtual Welsh show and hope that it may again challenge and change attitudes towards mental health among the farming community.

“The Welsh Conservatives will also continue our work to ensure that the Welsh Government does more to help break the stigma. I urge Lesley Griffiths to look at launching a digital awareness campaign that signposts towards counselling and support services."

ENDS

Photo: Spencer Pugh/UnSplash