Research links poor mental health and safety issues on farms
Research by the charity Farm Research Foundation has found that there is a link between mental health and safety on the farm.
The Farm Research Foundation interviewed farmers and found that over 80% of them believe that the biggest danger facing farmers is mental health. The charity is launching a Mind Your Head campaign to highlight the link between mental health and farm safety.
There are several factors that cause stress and anxiety in farmers. They can spend long time in isolation and often there are blurred lines between home and home life. Consumer habits are creating a changing demand for produce. Uncertain weather patterns caused by climate change are putting further pressures on farmers.
There are financial pressures; the income from UK farming has decreased by £791m in the 2017/18 period. Between 2014 and 2017, 42% of farmers would have made a loss if they did not have EU subsidies.
Professor Kay Cooper from the RGU School of Health Sciences said:
“We know that farmers and others working in the agriculture sector regularly experience distress, anxiety and depression, which in turn are related to a greater risk of injury.”
The link between mental health and safety is not confined to the farming sector. Many employers protect their workers with PPE (personal protection equipment) but do not consider workers’ mental wellbeing. A highly stressed employee is more likely to be careless and this can cause an accident when working in hazardous conditions or driving vehicles.