Wellbeing of Farmers: Mental Wellbeing
Key Challenges: Lack of specialist mental healthcare services
Key Target Groups: Young farmers, Female farmers, Older farmers, Farm workers (laborers), The wider agricultural community
The DPJ Foundation was set up in July 2016 following the death of Daniel Picton-Jones. The DPJ Foundation aims to support those in the agricultural sector suffering from poor mental health. Daniel’s mental health problems went undiagnosed and unseen by many. Daniel was an agricultural contractor, he was part of a sector with the highest suicide rate. His widow Emma decided to set up the foundation to support the mental health of those in the farming sector, for those who feel just as Daniel did, providing them with the support that he didn’t know how to get.
The mental health farming charity has grown and covers the whole of Wales with all areas of support. The DPJ Foundation works with leading organizations in agriculture including NFU Cymru, FUW, YFC, vets and Welsh Government to help provide an accessible and flexible service. The DPJ Foundation delivers Mental Health Awareness Training and talks to groups to raise awareness of mental health and challenge the stigma around poor mental health in agriculture. The foundation uses social media daily to raise awareness and TV, Radio and podcast appearances where possible.
The aim is to
- help farmers with mental health problems and raise awareness about mental health, challenging the stigma surrounding poor mental health to encourage people to get help earlier.
- train people who live or work with farmers to be able to spot someone who may be struggling with their mental health and to know how to start a conversation with them and how to help them get support to try to overcome the hurdle of getting help to the people who need it.
There are three main strands to the service of the foundation:
- Support through specific local counselling: The 24/7 confidential counselling referral service operates specifically for those who work in agriculture.
- Awareness through social media discussing mental health
- Mental Health Awareness: Bespoke training package to help
Main Outcome of the activity
- Trained a range of people including vets, inspectors, police officers, health workers, young farmers, farming union employees and farmers themselves and have delivered talks to sports clubs, schools and other groups.
- Supported over 500 farmers across Wales (until end of 2021)
- Over 15,000 followers on Facebook, nearly 3,000 on Twitter and over 4,500 on Instagram (until end of 2021)
- Through TV, radio and face-to-face event talks, the message has been spread to over 14 million people (until end of 2021)
Main Practical Recommendations
- Male farmers are less likely to attend training, but will engage online or in shorter sessions.
- Role Models and case studies engage those in need and resonate with trainees.
- Repeat messaging is needed – it may seem obvious, but keep repeating it.
- Engage and collaborate with the community and be accessible and open to ideas.
- Understand the challenges of farming and develop the service to accommodate them.
- Make access to the service as easy as possible and limit barriers.
- Ensure that personnel understand farming, so farmers feel understood
Key Stakeholders Involved
Volunteers on the helpline, Professional counsellors, Administrator/Coordinator, Manager , Trainers, volunteers in the community, ambassador/role models, other professions that surround farmers, the farming community.