It’s a busy time of year for farmers as they harvest fields and with that comes a lot of risk of accidents and injuries.
Long days and tight deadlines can increase the pressure workers face – as well as make them feel more run down and tired.
And that extra stress and fatigue can increase the risk of accidents for farmers, studies have found. But the Samaritans are here to help manage that stress before accidents happen.
Farming risk study
A recent study by the University of Aberdeen has shown that stress and fatigue are a key cause of agricultural accidents.
Ilinca-Ruxandra Tone, from the university’s research team, explains: “We found consistently that farmers’ stress and fatigue can negatively affect their mental picture of what is going on which leads to accidents and incidents.
“This is hugely significant given that stress and fatigue are prevalent issues in agriculture, alongside more serious mental health issues and our findings extend our knowledge to establish a link between stress and fatigue and situation awareness.”
Aberdeen Samaritans reaching out
Now the Aberdeen branch of the Samaritans are urging farmers to get in touch if they are feeling stressed – to help avoid the risk of a nasty accident. The study highlighted that incidents had happened where farmers had failed to notice something or misjudged the size of the vehicle due to stress and fatigue.
This year the branch has been focusing on reaching out to members of the agricultural community, many of whom are suffering in silence.
Branch member and deputy regional director for Scotland, Elaine Mottram, said: “The findings of this study are so relevant to this Samaritans campaign.
“It’s important that those who might be experiencing stress or feel troubled and preoccupied by pressures, know that we are available to support them 24/7. Just by sharing worries and concerns and by someone listening, things can begin to feel more manageable.
“Hopefully by making that call to us, you will be reducing the chances of an accident and keeping yourself and those around you safer.”
Other issues identified in the farming community are feelings of isolation and loneliness, coupled with anxiety about the industry and markets.
Helping the Samaritans
As a charity, the Samaritans relies on generous donations from the community.
If can help the Aberdeen branch continue its vital work, please text ABSAMS to 70085 to make a £5 donation.
You can also visit the Aberdeen Samaritans website for other ways to donate.
How to get help
Volunteers with the Samaritans are trained to listen without judgement and allow the space for someone to open up and hopefully release some of the burden they are carrying.
If you, or someone you know, needs to talk call the Samaritans on 116 123 or email email@example.com. Everything you say is kept confidential. The Samaritans also have an app you can download to your phone, which can provide self-help tips.
Find out more at the Samaritans website.