A FARMING union has announced the DPJ Foundation as its next charitable cause.

The ‘stiff upper lip’ is synonymous with the farming community and most farmers just get on with things.

Many may be hiding problems from themselves and their families and friends, and talking about personal feelings is uncomfortable for many.

Recognising the problem, the Farmers’ Union of Wales made a commitment at the 2017 Royal Welsh Show 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.

FUW president Glyn Roberts was therefore delighted to announce that the DPJ Foundation, a mental health charity which aims to support people in rural communities with poor mental health, especially men in the agricultural sector, has been chosen as the FUW president's charitable cause for 2019-2021.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show, he said: “One-in-four 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.

“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."

Mr Roberts added: “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.”

Responding to the announcement, Emma Picton-Jones, of the DPJ Foundation, 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 DPJ Foundation was set up in July 2016 following the death of Daniel Picton-Jones, Emma’s husband.