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  1. ITV Report

Mental health 'biggest hidden problem' for farmers

Jennifer is sharing her own experiences in the hope it will help others to open up

A farmer is trying to encourage more people in her industry to speak out about their mental health.

Jennifer Down, a dairy farmer from Budleigh Salterton, has been open about her own battle and now wants to raise awareness about the impact the business can have.

She says she found the stress of farming led her to anxiety, depression and bulimia, and has shared her story in the hope it will help others who are struggling.

The new Mind Your Head campaign film encourages farmers to talk freely about their problems Credit: Farm Safety Foundation

She is backing the Farm Safety Foundation's Mind Your Head campaign to tackle the ongoing problem of poor mental health among farmers in the UK.

The newly released film aims to encourage more farmers, particularly men, to open up about what they’re going through.

81%
of famers under 40 say mental health is the biggest hidden issue facing those in the industry
Jennifer Down said opening up has helped improve her mental health

Jennifer said opening up on social media played a huge part in relieving the tension and isolation brought on by the long working hours - and believes it has helped others too.

All it takes is 'Hi, how are you?' or 'what have you been up to?' just to start the little conversation that's needed.

You know early intervention in mental health is crucial so just a, 'How are you, how are you feeling?' that is all it takes to start the conversation.

– Jennifer Down

If you are struggling, or know someone who is, there are several organisations that can provide help and support: