The National Digest

Mental Health And Farming: ‘People Ignored Me At First’

Mental health and farming: ‘People ignored me at first’ – BBC News Emma Picton-Jones set out to change attitudes around mental health in farming after her husband Dan took his own life.

She’s now taking her counselling services across Wales thanks to new funding from the Welsh Government. The DPJ Foundation started in 2016 in memory of Dan, offering mental health support to other agricultural workers.
Emma says at first people “ignored” her, but she’s now seeing a positive change.

“A couple of years ago just after Dan died, no one was talking about mental health,” she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat. Emma remembers being approached by someone who couldn’t understand why she had started the foundation, which initially spoke to farmers across Pembrokeshire.

She had thought about giving up but decided “because of people like that, I need to keep doing this”.

Emma says she’s noticed a “huge shift” in attitudes within the farming community over the last three years.

“We get some people who are suicidal and some recognise things amongst family members that they’re concerned about and they want to know what they can do to help.

“We’ve got a huge change in the way people are thinking about it and talking about it – the younger generation in particular. They’re very proactive.”
She admits it “wasn’t an easy conversation” talking about Dan’s suicide to their 7-year-old daughter Mali.

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