Cornwall Young Farmers Club has launched a new mental health campaign called #MyMindMatters, writes the chairman of the group, Ben Cavill.

Whilst farmers and farming communities are renowned for the attention they give to their livestock, crops and machinery, it appears they do not have such a good track record when it comes to taking care of themselves and their own wellbeing.

There are several mental health risk factors associated with agriculture. Farmers work long hours, often in isolation. They can be under great financial pressure, often required to take on significant debt to purchase land and equipment required to operate. And in most cases, a farmer’s place of business is also their home, meaning there is no easy way to get away from the workload.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 20-34 in the UK and approximately one farmer a week takes their own life – the tragic consequence of increasing pressures on their business, their family and their mental health.

Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles when it comes to mental health.

People still think that it’s shameful if they are suffering from poor mental health. They think it shows weakness and that they have failed. This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak openly about their problems.

It is important to create a culture in farming that promotes positive mental health and encourages people to open up and talk, and to seek support and guidance during their time of need.

As an organisation with more than 850 members filling the corners of Cornwall’s rural communities – we have the opportunity, the means and the desire to make a difference.

I am proud to be launching #MyMindMatters; a campaign that has one simple, fundamental message … “it’s OK not to be OK”.

We want to get our members actively talking about mental health and wellbeing by delivering 'signs and symptoms' awareness sessions to all 20 YFCs.

We want to provide mental health first aid training to at least one member of every club, to work within Cornwall YFC and their local communities,

We want to challenge Cornish agri-businesses to pledge their support by funding mental health first aid training to their employees,

and we want to raise funds for organisations that provide support, guidance and hope to those in need within our Cornish farming community.