The NFU ‘s most recent survey has shown that increasing costs of production has contributed to farmers’ poor mental health.
Over 68% of the respondents said that rising costs of energy, fuel and fertiliser has negatively impacted their mental health, whilst 61% felt unfairness in the supply chain was a contributor. Additionally, almost 50% said rural crime is having an impact on wellbeing.
The data was published in advance of a government event which will begin a conversation about prioritising the mental health of those across the food production sector. MPs will speak to and learn from farming charities and campaigners along with farmers who have their own mental health experiences. The results come after the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called for greater planning and action from the government to address the issue of poor mental health outcomes for people across rural communities in England.
Vice president from the NFU, David Exwood, said: “Working in the farming industry is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. We produce high-quality, climate-friendly food for the nation while shaping some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes. But as has been shown by our distressing survey results, the pressures are incredibly challenging too.
“Our survey pinpoints some of the root causes affecting rural mental health – economic and political uncertainty – and we are calling on government to continue taking steps to address these issues to reduce the stress farmers are facing. This is backed up by a recent report from the Efra Select Committee which called for greater joined-up rural mental health planning and action from government, and we agree with these calls.
“While we are starting to see a culture change within our sector, where talking about mental health is becoming more and more accepted, there are still too many farmers and growers simply ignoring the signs and struggling on in silence. I hope today’s event shows there is support out there as we mark the start of an important conversation.”