A SOMERSET MP visited a livestock market's rural health hub recently to talk to the team about the work they do.

Sarah Dyke, MP for Somerton and Frome, visited Frome Livestock Market's hub to talk to the team of wellbeing practictioners and nurses. Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month, the team offer free, confidential, NHS health checks to agricultural workers and their families. 

Ms Dyke noted that farming can be a very 'isolating and lonely' occupation and that a recent study by the Farm Safety Foundation found that poor mental health among farmers and agricultural workers is a 'growing concern'.

In the study, a sample of 450 farmers under the age of 40, respondents almost universally agreed that poor mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing the industry today.

Ms Dyke said: “As the daughter and sister of farmers, the mental and physical health of those working in the farming community is of particular importance to me. I’m delighted to visit the rural health hub here at Frome Livestock Market and to find out more about the vital work its staff are doing.

"They’re committed to putting healthcare at the heart of a community that’s traditionally been hard to reach. My brother was at the market today, selling some sheep, and I was able to encourage him to go to the health hub to get a check-up.

“Market day isn’t just a business opportunity for farmers. It’s very much a social event, a chance to get together with friends and to relieve the isolation of farm life. Encouraging farmers to open up about how they’re feeling and to address any niggling health concerns while they’re in this familiar setting is a fantastic idea.

“The Liberal Democrats have a very strong record on mental health, which we believe is every bit as important as physical health. I’ve been working hard with the Farm Safety Foundation over recent months to raise awareness of the particular challenges faced by the farming community and I’ll continue championing innovative projects such as this one in Somerton and Frome.”