Countryfile presenter Adam Henson backs farming mental health campaign

Adam Henson at Cotswold Farm Park, posing with a goat in front of a barn with solar panels
Adam Henson is supporting the campaign

Countryfile presenter Adam Henson is supporting a mental health campaign for farmers as the industry faces a "really difficult" time.

The Farm Safety Foundation's (FSF) Mind Your Head campaign hopes to start conversations about mental health.

FSF surveyed 450 farmers aged under 40, and found 95% of them ranked mental health as one of the biggest issues facing the industry.

The charity said farmers faced a "unique set of stressors".

In 2023, Cotswold farmer Adam Henson launched a podcast to raise awareness of mental health difficulties among farmers and rural communities.

'Atrocious weather'

The Countryfile presenter said: "I think the farming community are very resilient and there have been lots of tough times over the years.

"You think about foot-and-mouth, the bird flu crisis last year, but there are lots of external factors farmers are really struggling with.

"The weather has been just atrocious over the last couple of years with extreme heat and cold and the flooding. At the moment, it is really difficult."

Stephanie Berkeley, FSF campaign coordinator, launched the Mind Your Head initiative in 2018.

The war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis and storms have impacted farming in recent months, Ms Berkeley said.

"Farmers are traditional, they get on with work.

"The stigma they have is because often they feel very proud to say they are a third or fourth generation farmer, you don't want to be that third or fourth generation that sees the business fail," she said.

'Speaking does help'

Ed White, a farmer from Castle Cary in Somerset, said feed and bedding costs, paperwork, rain and low profits all contributed towards stress among farmers.

When he is feeling stressed, Mr White said he talks through his worries with friends and family members.

Mr White, who lost 20 chickens in a fox attack on his farm on Sunday, said: "You get a situation where you can't take a week off work to help your mental stress when you're the only one on the farm.

"Animals still need to be fed, milked, and taken to market. There isn't that ability to take a step back quite often and that's where speaking to friends and neighbours does help."

If you've been affected by the issues raised in this report, the BBC Action Line has a list of organisations that may be able to help.

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