I hope I haven't lost you already- please stay with me!
It is impossible to ignore the subject of mental health at the moment. The media in general and increasingly the farming media report the ever-heightening incidence of anxiety, depression and suicide. Shockingly, more than 1 farmer dies by suicide every week in the UK. Farmers, and those working in the agricultural industry, are very much at risk of mental health disorders. Long hours, solitary work, financial stress and historically, an unwillingness to talk about hard times can all contribute to feeling down and desperate. Among other vulnerable occupations, vets are near the top of the list. Vets are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than members of the general population. I myself know members of my university year group that have died as a result of suicide.
I would like, within the scope of this newsletter, to talk openly about how to recognize signs of poor mental health and discuss how we can possibly help each other and how you can help yourself. We are all in this together. This is an important topic that would benefit from more open discussion, hopefully most of you know me well enough to recognise that this comes from a place of good will and not patronisation!