World Suicide Prevention Day is observed annually on September 10, asking people to rethink mental illness and provide commitment and action to preventing suicide around the world. It is a day to invite conversation and break down the stigmas of mental health, showing recovery is possible.
The day was created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) who explained why suicide still prevents a universal challenge. They said: “Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.
“Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. We hope this day of recognition will encourage us to engage with each other and to join together to spread awareness of suicide prevention.”
Particularly in the agricultural sector, suicide rates are high. Farmers and their families face the same issues that everyone faces but there are a unique set of stressors in the industry; weather, market fluctuations, loneliness, long hours etc. that compound everyday pressures.
Farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and, given the hazards and risks faced by farmers every day, being in the wrong headspace when working on a busy farm can, in fact, lead to life-changing or life-ending accidents.
The Farm Safety Foundation wishes to combat this increasing figure, beginning the conversations around mental health to help farmers open up more about how they are feeling. With their Mind Your Head campaign, the Farm Safety Foundation are encouraging the farming community to stop and think about how they are looking after their physical and mental wellbeing.
As a long time supporter of the campaign we know how important it is to talk about how you are feeling and encourage others to do the same. Our students are also actively supporting this movement; the Students’ Union RAG team raised £1,300 in their fourth year supporting the charity, helping to kick start conversations around mental health.
These conversations are key and, by starting them today and continuing them, we hope to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. Should you be experiencing difficulties at university or are seeking to speak to someone about your mental health, you can contact the Student Support team here.