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Experts questioned on rural mental health

10 March 2022

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee examines the mental health challenges faced in farming and other agriculture-related professions

Witnesses

Tuesday 15 March 2022

At 2.30pm

  • Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
  • Dr Rebecca Wheeler, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR), University of Exeter
  • Dr David Rose, Elizabeth Creak Associate Professor of Agricultural Innovation and Extension, University of Reading
  • Rachel Hutchings, Fellow in Health Policy, Nuffield Trust

MPs will use the session with research experts on mental health and agriculture to explore how mental health outcomes in rural areas compare to urban areas, whether there are differences in the drivers of these outcomes in these two different environments, and the challenges of delivering mental health services in a rural context.

The Committee is likely to explore the issue of higher-than-average suicide rates in key agricultural professions, including farming and the veterinary profession. The Farm Safety Foundation has reported that one farmer a week in the UK dies by suicide, whilst research by Edinburgh University has shown that the rate of suicide in the veterinary profession is at least three times that of the general population.

Other likely topics of discussion include the availability of mental health support for rural communities during shocks including floods, animal culls and disease outbreaks; lessons learned from support during Covid; and how mental health services in rural areas are structured and funded.

Further information

Image: UK Parliament/Gabriel Sainhas