Supporting farmers’ mental health and wellbeing through challenging periods
Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity to highlight work we are doing to support farmers' mental wellbeing in Wales. Last year, Public Health Wales, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation, brought together views from across the Welsh farming communities with the international evidence on how to support the mental wellbeing of farmers and farming communities in Wales. The report, funded by Welsh Government, provided a comprehensive understanding of the challenges farmers face today, together with their views on mental wellbeing in Wales.
The research highlighted the need to better protect against the effects of uncertainty in farming businesses on wellbeing, and to promote the mental health and wellbeing of farmers and farming communities, through awareness raising, normalisation of mental health in Welsh agriculture, and outreach programmes integrating mental health into farming culture.
Since then, we have continued to work with partners to highlight and better respond to the mental health of farmers. We have developed collaborative research programmes to generate more robust understanding of the impact of these challenges on the health and wellbeing and to evaluate what works to support farmers in Wales.
The report was carried out within the context of Brexit, but is of considerable relevance to the agriculture sector, farmers and their communities today. However, we know that experiencing periods of uncertainty, such as those we face from the current COVID-19 pandemic, can affect not only the farming business and financial circumstances, but also the mental health and wellbeing of farmers and their families.