A charity originally set up in Pembrokeshire to tackle mental health issues in rural areas has been chosen as the next charitable cause by the Farmers' Union of Wales.

And the announcement at the Royal Welsh Show last week was welcomed by Emma Picton Jones, the charity's founder, whose husband took his own life in 2016.

The charity's strategy is to train vets, feed reps and others who work in the industry so that the charity takes support to farmers, rather than waiting for people to seek it themselves.

Emma said: “Having worked closely with the FUW this year it was fantastic to hear that we have been chosen as the next charity.

“The work the FUW do to support the awareness of the charity is already making a difference and to be able to continue that will mean the word around mental health will continue to reach bigger audiences. We can’t thank everyone involved enough for their continued support.”

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Show 2017 to raise awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and to continue the conversation about the wider issues surrounding mental health in rural areas.

President Glyn Roberts said he was therefore delighted to announce that the DPJ Foundation has been chosen as the his charitable cause for 2019-2021.

“One in four4 people will suffer with mental health problems in their lifetime, it is not an uncommon illness and one which we need to work together to tackle," he said.

“Sadly, agriculture carries the highest rate of suicide above any other occupation. Concerns about the unpredictable weather, animal disease, support payments and the impact of Brexit are weighing on the minds of many farmers throughout Wales.

“Coupled with the loneliness and isolation that comes with farming means that farmers and agricultural workers are highly susceptible to poor mental wellbeing.

“Failing to deal with that could lead to all sorts of issues, such as the farm running inefficiently, a serious injury, relationship breakdowns, poor physical health and, even worse, it could lead to suicide.

“Let’s remember that 16.7 per cent of the population have had suicidal thoughts and in 2014 6,581 died by suicide in the UK, three and a half times as many as on UK roads. That is why the work of the DPJ Foundation is so important and we are excited about supporting their efforts over the next two years.”


Note to editors:

The DPJ Foundation was set up in July 2016 following the death of Daniel Picton-Jones (Emma’s husband).

Agriculture carries one of the highest rates of suicide and with mental health being such a big problem across society the foundation aims to break down the stigma that surrounds mental health and provide support services for those in rural communities.