Farmer mental health and safety a priority for region - The Yorkshire Post says

Concerns about a mental health crisis in the farming community across Yorkshire and beyond has been highlighted by this newspaper many times as society at large has begun to invest much more energy in promoting personal wellbeing.

Picture: James Hardisty.

Now the weight of the Health and Safety Executive has been thrown behind this vital issue, with agriculture included among five key sectors being targeted by its new Working Minds initiative, a joint campaign with organisations such as the Farm Safety Foundation.

It aims to help businesses recognise the signs of work related stress as the HSE’s chief executive, Sarah Albon, warned the nation could be facing a “health and safety crisis” unless action was taken.

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And while numerous industries have been transformed by the pandemic, with more flexibility and home working hailed as positive changes amid dubious claims of a “Great Resignation” due to people reassessing priorities, many employees have faced “unprecedented challenges” says Ms Albon.

The farming industry is the lifeblood of this region – we depend on it for economic strength and for the simple need of having good quality food to eat.

But it can be a lonely business, and the aforementioned “unprecedented challenges” have been piled on top of long-standing worries in the industry about how farmers can make ends meet.

“It’s OK not to be OK,” is a phrase commonly heard now, and really, as the HSE gives employers a “clear reminder of their duties” in regard to mental health at work, this scheme is an important extension of that sentiment.