Farmers in Wales say they're worried about surviving winter due to the cost of living crisis
Farmers in Wales are 'struggling to cope' and worried about 'surviving winter' due to the cost of living crisis.
The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) have said that there's been an increase in the number of farmers requiring support since the cost of living crisis began.
Sharon Pritchard, County Executive officer at the Farmer's Union of Wales said:
"I had seven phone calls from members in distress, that's the only word that I can use to describe it, just basically admitting that they can't cope.
"The pressure of feed bills, fuel bills, supporting their families, and that's what hit home with me, that they were up against the wall and they said, 'I can't cope with this anymore, I don't feel like I can survive the winter, I don't feel like I can go on.'"
Richard Walker, a farmer from the Vale of Glamorgan, has suffered badly with mental health issues and still struggles to speak about the problems he faces.
He is just one of many who have been in contact with the FUW for support.
He said: "If you're suffering - to open up to someone and say you've got a problem, it's not very easy.
"It doesn't come up in day-to-day conversation. You don't go out for a beer and say, 'I'm not well'. You can switch on a persona when you're working and make it look as if there's nothing wrong."
Mr Walker recalled one specific incident when he suffered badly. A calf from his herd of cattle died in the middle of the night, and he placed much of the blame on himself.
"Two, three o'clock in the morning, it's not exactly like you can ring someone. I just lost it and didn't know what to do, no one to speak to."
The FUW is hoping to ease the burden on farmers like Richard by providing more support to them. In partnership with farmers' charity, Tir Dewi, it is trialling a new mental health service in Gwynedd.
The 'Ffrind Fferm' scheme involves farmers checking in with their neighbours with one quick call, morning and night. If successful, there are hopes for the scheme to be rolled out across all counties in Wales.
If you have been affected by any of these issues - the Tirdewi helpline number is 0800 121 47 22.