26 August 1997
CLA hails bid to curb rural suicidies

By FWi staff

THE Country Landowners Association has applauded a Government initiative to build a national help-centre for farmers suffering from stress and worry.

The CLA says farmers are almost twice as likely to commit suicide as people in other professions. Farmers anxieties range from weather concerns, falling incomes, threat of business failure, legal disputes, loneliness and domestic friction.

Based at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, in Warwickshire, the Government-funded National Resource Centre for Rural Mental Health will aim to promote the emotional well-being of people living in rural communities.

The purpose of the centre is to develop care and support networks, provide training for volunteers and professionals working in the field of stress relief, and to lobby for adequate health service resources to be devoted to rural areas.

Mid-Wales CLA regional secretary Julian Salmon said todays farmers are under a lot of pressure due to declining profitability and income, growing debts and increased bureaucracy.

“For some there is the fear of losing a holding which may have been farmed by one family for generations, which can aggravate the misery and despair,” Mr Salmon said.

By its nature, farming is a lonely business, and had become more so over the past few decades as farm jobs disappeared to make way for machines, he said.

“And a major addition to all these long-term pressures in the last year has been the BSE crisis, which has caused immense problems for many beef and dairy farmers,” he added.