The NATIONAL Farmers Union is urging the farming industry to reverse the stigma around mental wellbeing as statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive identified stress, depression and anxiety as the main causes of work-related ill health.

The report outlined that the overall illness rate for agricultural workers is 46 per cent higher than the industry average, and highlighted that stress, depression and anxiety are significant causes of ill health alongside musculoskeletal disorders and lung disease.

NFU vice president and chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) Stuart Roberts said: “We all know that agriculture has a poor track record when it comes to physical injuries in the workplace, and the FSP is working with the industry to reverse this.

"But what we have often overlooked is our mental wellbeing. British farmers and growers are incredibly passionate about the role they have in producing safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation.

"Yet the environment they work in can often leave them feeling isolated, and the stress that comes with financial pressures, outbreaks of disease, volatile weather, as well as Brexit uncertainties, can leave farmers feeling vulnerable.

The non-fatal injury rate for agricultural workers is 105 per cent higher than the industry average, while ill health and injury in agriculture is estimated at £293 million. Stuart added: “We need to start treating mental wellbeing as we would a physical injury."