Mental health in farming has been highlighted as one of the biggest challenges in the industry but what do you do if you think one of your team is being affected?
Office for National Statistics’ figures for England (2011-2015) reveal that roles such as crop harvesting show a higher risk of suicide than the national average.
Being aware of mental health issues and knowing what to do if someone is having problems is vital, says HOPS Director Sarah Boparan.
“Mental health issues can begin as soon as someone arrives on farm. It can be an anxious time, especially for those who are experiencing their first season working in the UK and are unsure about what to expect. It’s why HOPS encourages its growers to always hold inductions and give a warm welcome to new people arriving at their farm.”
Sarah also reminds growers that seasonal workers have left family and close friends behind to come and work on UK farms, which can contribute to low feelings.
“It’s why offering good accommodation is so important to supporting the people who have come to work for you,” said Sarah. “Finding a comfortable and clean environment to live in can be reassuring when you have arrived somewhere new.”
Language barriers, remote locations and even the British weather can all affect someone’s mental wellbeing. Ensuring there are good recreational opportunities available for seasonal workers means people have time to relax and talk to others. Remember to also spend time meeting with the team on your farm once a week so you can spot any problems that may be emerging.
What to do if someone is struggling
Ensuring people get the support they need for mental health problems is important and especially for those with language barriers. Using translators is important in these situations and HOPS can assist in instances where you might need a translator who is of the opposite sex to the one you have on site.
It is advised to provide information for national organisations offering support for health, well-being and mental health; however limited translations may not benefit someone if the organisation cannot support them. Please ensure support is given to signpost an individual to information in their own language or someone that can help.
Help is available online from the NHS where health information has been translated into different languages and there is also online translators to help with individual words. See here: https://www.nhs.uk/accessibility/health-information-in-other-languages/
For more help and support if you are struggling with mental health issues, please contact the Farming Community Network on 03000 111 999. Calls will be answered in person from 7am to 11pm every day of the year.