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Job pressure takes toll on young farmer's mental health

Zoe Marshall with one of her cows
Miss Marshall has a day job and has to do farming before and after work

A young Jersey farmer has said the pressure of her job can have a negative impact on her mental health.

Zoe Marshall, 28, took over the running of her family farm in St Saviour when her grandmother died two years ago.

She juggles working on the farm alongside a full-time day job and said the pressure can be "enormous".

She said the transition into the farming industry had been "tough" but she added that she would not want a different lifestyle.

'Tough transition'

Miss Marshall said the demands of farming left her with a very limited social life.

"Sometimes my friends are going out to parties or going away and I'm in the milking parlour on my own," she said.

"You get this overwhelming sense of - I am on my own."

Miss Marshall said giving up on the farm was not an option as she wanted to keep her "family legacy alive".

She added: "The pressure is enormous. It doesn't stop.

"It does definitely take its toll on your mental health.

"It's such a tough transition and I don't think it will ever stop being tough.

"We are allowed our bad days but it doesn't mean we want to change it," she said.

'Crying together'

A recent study by wellbeing charity the Farm Safety Foundation found 95% of young farmers in the UK believed poor mental health was the biggest hidden danger in the industry.

Miss Marshall said there was a stigma around the "tough" mentality of farmers.

"Nine times out of 10 we are tough," she said.

"There is one percent where you're not (but) you still have to get up and do it all.

"I'm still quite new to the farming community and I do heavily rely on my mum.

"Sometimes we're sat in the milking parlour together and it's 5am and we're crying together.

"Sometimes that's the only therapy you need".


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