Lonely farmer took his own life amid Brexit concerns

A lonely farmer with a history of mental health problems and increasing concerns over Brexit took his own life, an inquest has heard.

Matthew William Dennis was found by his sister outside his farm in Cornwall in March.

The 53-year-old was living with his siblings at Middle Drift near Two Waters Foot, following the recent death of their mother, Cornwall Live reported.

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An inquest held at County Hall in Truro on Friday (2 August) heard Mr Dennis suffered from mental health issues and had struggled with episodes of anxiety and depression.

Det Cons Sally Johnson, of Devon and Cornwall Police, told the inquest that officers were called to the farm at about 1.30pm on 18 March.

She said: “Mr Dennis’ sister ran back, told her brother, and police were called.There was no suggestion of third-party involvement.

“I think [the location] was chosen deliberately so that he couldn’t be found to be rescued.”

‘Isolated life’

DC Johnson explained that Mr Dennis lived “quite an isolated life” on the farm with his sister and brother, in the middle of nowhere.

“He didn’t appear to have too many friends; he wasn’t in a relationship,” she added.

“He was very quiet, self-contained, he didn’t express himself too much, he was very lonely.

“He had been unusually quiet the night before. He was very angry about the situation with Brexit; the uncertainty.”

Only a month before he was found dead, Mr Dennis told his GP that his mood was no longer low and he wanted to start reducing his medication.

Pathologist Dr Malcom’s report revealed that Mr Dennis showed no evidence of alcohol or drug toxicity at his time of death.

Assistant coroner Barry van den Berg said the farmer’s suicide was “a tragic, lonely death”. He recorded a verdict that Mr Dennis “took his own life”.

Helplines and crisis contacts for farmers

Hard work, long hours, spending a lot of the time working alone without human contact, financial pressures, livestock diseases and poor harvests can threaten farmers’ physical and emotional health.

If you feel low, or know somebody who needs help, please contact charities and get support immediately.

Here is a list of useful contacts:

  • RABI Freephone helpline: 0808 281 9490 or email info@rabi.org.uk
  • Farming Community Network Helpline 03000 111 999 or email chris@fcn.org.uk
  • Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) HOPELineUK 0800 068 4141
  • Mind Call 0300 123 3393, email info@mind.org.uk or text 86463
  • Samaritans Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Samaritans Welsh language line 0808 164 0123
  • Tir Dewi Call 0800 121 4722 or email mail@tirdewi.co.uk
  • Community Advice & Listening Line for Wales Call 0800 132 737 or text 81066
  • Rural Support in Northern Ireland 0800 138 1678
  • Scottish Association of Mental Health 0141 530 1000
  • Citizens Advice Find your local office on www.citizensadvice.org.uk
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