Farming is a job where the weather or other uncontrollable factors can make or break you. This job is stressful, which requires non-stop responsibility 24/7, 365 days a year.
Farmers produce food for this country and people might all have this image that they are super stoic and tough and they can always handle their personal or business issues.
However, the reality is that mental health issues within the farming industry is getting more and more recognition and attention as it gets increasing amount of exposure both on social media and in real life.
This week, London Dairy Congress sets up a special session, Produce Panel: The Status of Mental Health in the Agriculture Community, where panelists from the industry talk about the mental health issue on a personal level and share real stories with audience from agriculture community.
Gary Hazelager is one of the panelists in this session who grew up in a dairy farm. After spending over 27 years on a farm, he left farming industry a year ago and joined his wife working on health and fitness business.
“A lot of stuff that really helped me move along was exercising regularly, eating healthy, meditating, mindfulness, deep breathing techniques and that really helped me and I want to help other people.”
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“It (farming) is super stressful job, there’s 24/7 responsibility, you always have to be there or someone always have to be there, it is 365 days a year. A lot of times it requires hard physical labour and it takes big toll on your body and your mental health as well,” says Hazelager.
Doctor Rich Clinton, the organizer of this session says, “the challenges for addressing mental health issues still go back to the stoic nature of the farmer, the facts that it hasn’t been talked about much in previous generations at all. For more isolated farmer communities, there’s resource issues.”
He adds the solution for mental health issue is self-awareness and realization of the importance of seeking help and becoming aware that the resources are available.