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.

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy is backed by the Samaritans and has been welcomed by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

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.

Readers' comments (5)

  • The best thing the Government can do is cut the paper work that we have to do and get their act together about big issues like TB which put's a massive strain on the farming family's . who find them selves pushed to the limit every time it comes around to testing their cattle.

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  • Before anybody gets the help needed to better mental health, they first have to be open and honest with themselves and loved ones. It really does just start with a talk.

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  • Diabolical harvest-pig industry in meltdown due to high feed costs-cashflow dilemmas alll over the place. No surprises in the increase in suicides and gun incidents. There are folk who will listen and support and seek solutions search and find agricultural chaplains and specific farming support networks LRSN

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  • One area of concern that is often missed is the question of rural theft and security. Farmers and those living in rural areas are being being targetted by members of a very differenent community (travelling) who have no respect for the safety of others. 95% of farming familes have been the target of rural crime. It is about time the police who are present appear to be taking a back step adopt a Zero torrelence to this type of harrssment.

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  • farmers especialy those that have been forced to re-finance. Borrow money are being tergetted by banks, credit brokers etc. who,s only purpose is to "Distress" to bring property & assets into the Insolvency process Re: RBS
    deliberately destroying a business to steal assets See : The Tomlinson Report. Treasury Select Committee re: RBS

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