A 57-year-old man from Penybont, who was stressed about farming and money worries, “died by his own hand,” an inquest heard.

Phillip Hugh Kendrick was described by his wife, at the inquest held in Welshpool last Friday, as “clever, funny and witty”.

He met her in 1985, and within six months they were married.

The Assistant Coroner for South Wales Central, Ian Boyes, concluded that the “very sad passing” of Mr Kendrick was a result of suicide.

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Kendrick had a shotgun wound after “having shot himself,” the inquest heard.

It was heard that Mr Kendrick had been drinking prior to his passing. He had 197 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of his blood; 80 milligrammes being the drink drive limit.

His wife, Mrs Kendrick, said that “drinking had become an issue” and that he had started drinking more in the day.

“He used to get stressed about farm finances,” she said.

“He knew he had a problem, he just couldn’t see how anyone was going to help him,” she said.

“He said he could not live five minutes without me.”

Mrs Kendrick said she “could not believe” he would take his own life to leave her with the farm.

PC Horlock said that there was no other reason for Mr Kendrick to take the shotgun out. “There’s no evidence that it was an accident,” he said. “There was no other reason than to use it to end his life.”

Mr Boyles gave his “sincere condolences” Mr Kendrick’s wife and family at the inquest, as he concluded that he had “died by his own hand.”

‘Share the load’ under pressure farmers urged

In April, a 57-year-old farmer from Penybont, near Llandrindod Wells, took his own life.

The inquest held into Phillip Kendrick’s death heard that he was stressed about farming and farming finances.

But he’s not the first or last person working in agriculture to take their life; especially not in rural Mid Wales.

According to Samaritans, Powys has the highest suicide rate in Wales. Someone takes their life every three-and-a-half weeks, the charity says.

“We are a remote rural farming community, which tends to get overlooked in terms of funding. Low income, unmanageable debt, unemployment, poor housing and other socio-economic factors contribute to high suicide rates in most disadvantaged communities,” Samaritans said.

“Men aged 40 to 44 have the highest suicide rate, add this to economic uncertainty, social isolation and uncertainty over Brexit, farmers are at a greater risk of taking their own lives (they also have greater access to the means to end their lives).”

Mr Kendrick’s wife, in her evidence given to the coroner, said: “He knew he had a problem, he just couldn’t see how anyone was going to help him.”

This was what Daniel Picton-Jones, from Pembrokeshire, thought too. He took his life in July 2016, and that same month, his wife, Emma, set up a charity, The DPJ Foundation, to give the support he so desperately needed, to others.

She said: “Daniel felt that there was no support available for him and was unable to talk about his personal struggles. Following his death Daniel left a lengthy note. Part of this note alluded that other people could be helped in a way that he felt he wasn’t able to and so from this The DPJ Foundation was born.”

The charity has set up a project called ‘Share the Load’; offering people support through outreach counselling, telephone and online counselling.

To get help from The DPJ Foundation, you can:

Contact its call line, which is open 24/7, to speak to one of its volunteers. You will then be contacted by a counsellor who will arrange an appointment at a time to suit you. Call on 0800 587 4262.

If talking on the phone isn’t your thing you can text the charity if you would like support, and which can be arranged through text. Text 07860 048799.

The DPJ Foundation isn’t the only service providing help.

You can contact Powys Samaritans on 116 123 free from any phone or on 01597 823000, where local call charges apply.

Other services available include Mid Powys Mind, the Farming Community Network, and RABI.

If you’re worried about someone, The DPJ Foundation advises you to follow five steps, A.L.G.E.E:

A Ask how they are feeling: Asking someone if they are suicidal isn’t going to make them do it. Be patient and wait for them to talk. Maybe they want to talk to someone else or even write it down.

L Listen: the most important thing you can do. Do not be judgemental or critical, treat them with respect. Empathise by showing you really care and that your trying to see things from their point of view. The touch of a hand or a hug (providing they are willing) can go a long way.

G Give reassurance: Reassure them that these feeling can be overcome. Things can and do change. Help is out there and there is hope for the future.

E Encourage to get professional help.

E Encourage self help: Try to give practical support and help with any extra pressure. Agree on an action plan if they have suicidal feelings (who to contact, what to do)