Farm Safety Week – Mental Wellbeing on the farmyard

Anyone can experience excessive pressure and demands outside work just as much as they can at work.

This is particularly true for farmers; unpredictable weather, the economic downturn, rising costs, uncertain future, aches and pains, as well as feelings of isolation can all cause pressures for the farming community and can lead to issues with a farmer’s mental wellbeing.

Farmers tend to work long and anti-social hours and may focus more on their business and their animals than their own wellbeing. Striking a fair balance between work and mental wellbeing is key for a successful business therefore it is becoming increasingly important for farmers to consider the issue of mental wellbeing and encouraging them to talk about their troubles and to find a way of dealing with them.

Many farmers never stop to consider the consequences, or to take seriously the outcomes of poor mental wellbeing. Therefore it is becoming increasingly important within the farming community that this issue is brought to the forefront, and for farmers to consider their work ethics and schedules to reduce the effect of poor mental wellbeing.

Farm Safety Partnership Chairman Keith Morrison said: “It is important for farmers to realise that poor mental wellbeing can affect their ability to farm safely. Farming is becoming an increasingly competitive and innovative industry, therefore the pressures to succeed with business have increased, leading to higher stress levels and tension for farmers.

“HSENI would encourage farmers to consider their mental wellbeing at work in just the same way as the physical hazards and to try to put in place controls to reduce these risks. Support is out there in the form of charities such as Rural Support and I would really encourage anyone who is struggling to seek help.”