Addressing the Silent Crisis: Mental Health in the Rural and Farming Communities

Last week marked the annual "Mind Your Head" campaign, spearheaded by the Farm Safety Foundation, also known as Yellow Wellies. This initiative is crucial for spotlighting the mental health challenges faced by those in the agricultural sector, a topic that has long needed both attention and action. The campaign, which ran from February 12th to 16th, not only underscores the significant mental health risks associated with farming but also serves as a call to action for enhancing mental health support within rural communities.

In a significant step towards raising awareness and fostering support, Sarah Dyke, the MP for Somerton and Frome, hosted an event in the House of Commons. The event was part of the Mind Your Head campaign and saw cross-party support along with representatives from various organisations dedicated to the farming community's wellbeing.

The campaign's focus is not only on raising awareness but also on practical steps to address the issue. The Farm Safety Foundation is at the forefront of this effort, offering resources, training, and support to farm businesses and organisations. Their work, alongside partners in the industry, aims to promote a culture within farming that prioritises mental health, encourages open conversations, and provides necessary support.

The CLA reported on a 2021 survey by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) found that 36% of people in rural areas had mental health well-being scores significantly lower than the rest of the population, illustrating the extensive mental health issues within these communities. The survey also revealed that nearly half (47%) of respondents reported suffering from anxiety, with 18% struggling with moderate to severe levels—figures that exceed the national average. Moreover, 19% knew someone who had attempted suicide, underscoring the critical need for mental health intervention in rural sectors.

Additionally, the survey brought to light a startling statistic: each week, the farming community loses one of its own to suicide. This stark figure underscores the urgent need to address mental health challenges in the agricultural sector.

Several organisations are dedicated to providing support and resources to those struggling in silence. Initiatives like the "Mind Your Head" campaign and the support from public figures and organisations emphasise the importance of addressing mental health in rural and farming communities.

You can read more about the campaign and access the statistics here

Key Resources for Support:

Yana: email:  tel: 0300 3230400

FCN: and email: tel: 03000 111999

RABI: - email: tel: 0800 188444

Working with Kooth and Qwell, RABI have created an online mental health wellbeing community for young people aged 11 to 17,, and for those over 18.

These provide opportunities to join online discussion boards, chat to team members and read helpful articles and journals.

Kerry Booth, Chief Executive, Rural Services Network:

"Obtaining health and care services in rural locations poses a considerable challenge. Our commitment lies in championing improved access to health and care services for those in rural communities, recognising the distinctive obstacles they encounter.

The RSN was concerned with the findings of the EFRA Committee report into Rural Mental Health published last year, which highlighted that ‘rural communities’ needs are not fully reflected in mental health planning.’  It also found that ‘NHS mental health services are often not fairly accessible for rural communities, with services largely centred in towns and cities creating barriers to access, compounded by the limitations and weaknesses of rural public transport and digital connectivity."

In Winning the Rural Vote, our asks of the political parties ahead of the general election, we ask that the recommendations of the EFRA Committee are adopted.

Find out more about our campaign at this link:


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