Agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide of any occupation, and at this time of year the pressures of lambing, long hours working alone late into the night with little rest and often no one to talk too can increase the pressures on farmers.

The main reasons for this are:

  • Agriculture is an isolated occupation
  • Male dominated
  • Traditional sector
  • Resistance towards seeking help
  • Discrimination towards mental health
  • Lack of insight and support available
  • Constant change and uncertainty
  • Self reliance
  • Specialist – high pressure
  • It’s a lifestyle not a job
  • The means are available for people in agriculture to commit suicide

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has been running a two year campaign ‘It’s okay to talk’, in co-operation with mental health charities, spotlighting issues that can result in tragedy across the rural community.

“The ‘stiff upper lip’ is synonymous with the rural farming community and most farmers just get on with things,” said FUW county executive officer for Montgomery Emyr Wyn Davies. “Many may be hiding problems from themselves and their families and friends and talking about personal feelings is uncomfortable for many.

“We’ve faced some pretty low-points as a farming community in the last few years, TB, price volatility and, especially now, uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, which puts a strain on us all. Now it’s time to break the stigma attached to mental health and remember ‘It’s okay to talk’."


Remember: ALGEE

A - Ask how they are feeling- asking someone if they are suicidal isn’t going to make them do it. Be patient, wait for them to talk, maybe they want to talk to someone else.

L - Listen: the most important thing - don’t be judgemental, treat them with respect. Show you really care, that you see things from their point of view. The touch of a hand or a hug can go a long way.

G - Give reassurance - these feelings can be overcome, things can and do change. Help is out there and there is hope

E - Encourage them to get professional help.

E - Encourage self help, give practical support and help with any extra pressure. What to do if they have suicidal feelings - who to contact, what to do.

REMEMBER - DON’T put them down, abandon or reject them, don’t relax your attention or nag, intrude or criticise their actions – this isn’t about you.

The single most effective thing you can do to help yourself is to talk. Talk about your struggles and about what you are feeling. Not sure who to talk to?

These organisations can help:

Samaritans: 116 123 or Welsh Language Line (Llinell Gymraeg): 0808 164 0123

DPJ Foundation: Call 0800 587 4262 or Text 07860 048799

Mind Cymru: Call 0300 123 3393, email or text 86463

FCN: 03000 111 999

RABI: 0808 281 9490

Tir Dewi: 0800 121 4722