“One in four people will suffer a mental health issue in their lifetime with agriculture carrying one of the highest rates of suicide,” these were the sobering statistics from Emma Picton-Jones, founder of The DPJ Foundation, when she spoke to NFU Cymru staff.
The NFU Cymru team listened avidly as Emma, who recently delivered a full day’s mental health training to the team, gave an emotional account of the reason she set up the charity in July 2016 and explained all the great work the foundation had achieved in recent years.
The DPJ Foundation aims to support people in rural communities affected by mental health issues, especially men in the agricultural sector, and aims to break down the stigma that surrounds mental health.
NFU Cymru Head of Operations, Kevin Owen said: “Farming can be an isolated profession, it’s hugely traditional and often carries a resistance towards seeking help. Farmers at the mercy of the elements and many factors are out of their control. All these issues combined can contribute to depression and anxiety, and if not dealt with, can slowly spiral out of control.
“With this in mind, we organised mental health awareness training as we believe now more than ever we must all be talking about mental health and the many ways that people can seek help – this was the first in a series of training sessions to be rolled out across our network in Wales. During the training day, Emma explained what contributes to changes in mental health, the signs of poor mental health, factors for suicide and how we can all help those in need of support.”
Following the training course Emma said: “Mental health is prevalent in the agricultural sector with it carrying one of the highest rates of suicide. I was delighted to be able to support NFU Cymru with mental health awareness training. It’s great to see the NFU being proactive and taking steps to support others in the community.”
NFU Cymru’s message to all is to look out for your family, friends and neighbours and if you notice a change in their personality or appearance, talk to them. Starting up a conversation and listening to their problems is the best way to understand their issues and further assess what support they may wish to access. Farming is one big community – we must all take responsibility in looking out for those in need.
The DPJ Foundation has a campaign, #ShareTheLoad, which aims to raise awareness of their talking therapies and counselling service. This ties in to NFU Mutual’s #MindYourHead campaign which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues within the farming community and to get people talking.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering with poor mental health please call The DPJ Foundation on 0800 5874262 or text 07860 048799 for confidential advice.