'I was close to taking my own life': Number of Welsh farmers in need of support on the rise

A pig farmer from Powys says he was just 'weeks away from taking his own life' as Farming Unions say the number of farmers and people in rural communities reaching out to them for help with their mental health is on the increase.

Farmers' Union of Wales says they speak to people weekly about the many stresses farmers face which then has an impact on their mental health.

Dan James who owns a farm in Llandrindod Wells has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past but he now wants to help others who have mental health issues.

He says he tries to talk openly about his experience.

He said: "It very nearly was me. I was probably weeks away, a month away, from actually taking my own life.

"I have thought about it. I've actually contemplated it.

"But I just thought about my family and I thought no, it's not worth it. Putting the burden on my family, and I've got two mortgages to pay for.

"One farm mortgage and one house mortgage and I'd leave them in a whole world of trouble."

Dan is now on medication and is seeing a counsellor and urges others to reach out for support if they need it.

Today marks the start of Agriculture Mental Health Week.

Sharon Pritchard from the Farming Union of Wales said, "Whether they are from rural communities or from farming communities.

"The problems are across the board. They can be Covid related, farming issues related, its isolation issues.

"Pressures of paperwork that goes along farming at the moment."

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

The services of rural charities are also in demand.

Charity manager, Kate Miles from the mental health charity DJP Foundation described the 'weight' that can build up over time when someone is struggling.

She said, "If you're carrying a load or some shopping and then you put one extra thing on top of it.

"That's the thing that makes the carrier bag break and it's a bit like that in farmer mental health I suppose.

"You're under a lot of pressure already and then that one final thing is the thing that really weighs you down."

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