We all have mental health, whether it is good or may need improving. Having poor mental health doesn’t simply mean having a diagnosable mental health condition.
In the agricultural industry and rural community there are varying potential triggers and threats to mental wellbeing which differs from other lifestyles. The agricultural industry is going through a period of change and the challenges faced by those working in the field seem to be ever more prevalent. Politically, Brexit has questioned the existence of our vital source of subsidy; environmentally, our fluctuating climate creates unpredictability at its worst and farmers have extremely low levels of control over the business which they put blood, sweat and tears into, quite literally. Sadly, one farmer in the UK every week dies from suicide.
The hard reality is that these causes for concern are not going to disappear, as well as in all walks of life; there are periods and situations which are more challenging than others. It has never been such an important time to explore and strengthen our resilience. This is not simply a persons ability to ‘get on with it’ during these times, but rather their capacity to adapt and ability to stay mentally well.
There are elements of resilience which can be built into everyday life, for instance, practices of general wellbeing like eating well and maintaining a regular sleep pattern, the latter in particular being challenging during lambing/spring work/silage/harvest….. However maintaining social connections can play a major role in increasing resilience. As modern day farming becomes ever more isolating, and the current ‘busy’ culture is making our society selfish. We can all do more to support those around us. Reach out and encourage conversation and together we can tackle rural isolation.