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Celebrity farmer Kelvin Fletcher backs industry mental health campaign

Kelvin Fletcher is backing the campaign.
Kelvin Fletcher is backing the campaign.

Celebrity farmer Kelvin Fletcher is backing an agricultural industry mental health campaign.

Mr Fletcher – who showcases life on his new farm in BBC’s Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure – is supporting this year’s Mind Your Head campaign.

The annual mental health awareness campaign, which kicks off today, is run by farm safety charity the Farm Safety Foundation.

It aims to remind all farmers and those working in the agricultural industry to illustrate actions being taken to break down mental health barriers in farming.

It comes as a survey by the Farm Safety Foundation reveals 92% of farmers and farmworkers under the age of 40 believe poor mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today – this is up from 82% in a similar survey conducted in 2018.

Kelvin Fletcher – who previously won BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and previously starred in Emmerdale – said he had no idea the farming community was so heavily impacted by bad mental health.

Many in rural communities suffering in silence

“Campaigns like Mind Your Head are so important if we’re going to chip away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness in the industry,” said Mr Fletcher.

“If one person reads about Mind Your Head and decides to reach out or to check in on a loved one, that’s a step in the right direction.

“Please, be that person and start the conversation. You never know how much it could mean to someone struggling silently.”

Farm Safety Foundation manager, Stephanie Berkeley, said it was about time the farming industry dealt with the issue of poor mental health head on.

She said: “We need to talk about our feelings and let everyone living and working in farming know that it’s completely ok to have feelings, good and bad, but it’s also important to let them out.

“Many living and working in rural communities are suffering and doing so in silence. As an industry, it’s time to ease the pressure, stop expecting people to be perfect and start talking openly about feelings with people you trust.”

More information about this year’s Mind Your Head campaign is online at www.yellowwellies.org

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