Work to prevent farmer suicide rate given cash boost
WORK to prevent suicides among farmers and veterinary workers is set to benefit from a £1.5million Government boost.
The pledge comes as ministers unveiled a new suicide prevention strategy to cut the suicide rate and provide more support to bereaved families.
A Government report in to preventing suicide in England states that farmers and agricultural workers, along with veterinary staff, are classed as ‘high risk’ groups requiring more attention under the initiative.
RABI spokesman Philippa spackman said: “RABI welcomes the Government’s initiative and hopes that some of the £1.5 million research money will look at suicide among the farming community.
“The statistics are very worrying, especially given that farming already has one of the highest suicide rates of all professions and the ripple effect of every individual tragedy spreads out to affect the family and wider community.
“We know of areas where there have been several farmer suicides in the past year. Financial problems are potential causes, but there are also significant additional issues.
“At least two farmers we know of took their lives because the person who used to complete paperwork such as livestock passports or single farm payment applications had died or moved away.
“There is also the problem of isolation as it affects mental health. Not only do many farmers work very long hours alone, they sadly also have access to means of taking their own life, from shotguns to chemicals.”
Around 4,200 people in England took their own lives in 2010 and suicide continues to be a public health issue - especially in the current period of economic uncertainty, the Department of Health said.
The suicide rate is highest amongst men aged between 35-49, while men are three times more likely than women to take their own life, according to statistics.