Bury St Edmunds former farm worker shares his mental health battle and backs campaign Mind Your Head
A former farm worker who struggled with loneliness and was on the verge of suicide has encouraged others in the agricultural community with mental health issues to speak out and seek help.
Dan Goodwin, 22, of Bury St Edmunds, has detailed his mental health journey to show others they are not alone and is supporting a charity campaign to raise awareness of the issues farmers face.
The Farm Safety Foundation launched Mind Your Head this week to bring public attention to challenges on young farmers including smiling depression, PTSD, loneliness and rural isolation.
A study by the charity found 84 per cent of farmers aged under 40 believe mental health is the biggest danger facing the industry and has highlighted the link with farm safety.
Dan was involved in farming for seven years – four at Easton College studying agriculture – but the ‘intense and high pressure jobs’ began to take their toll.
“It was loneliness, a lot of pressure, tiredness and that spiralled into suicidal thoughts – I was very close to taking my own life,” Dan said.
There are always people out there who will listen. Don’t fight this on your own - Dan Goodwin
“Most of our jobs in farming are very lonely. We’re on our own all the time and you don’t really have many people to talk to.
“Over the years it was slowly building up and then, before I knew it, last August it just hit me and made me realise I needed to get help.”
He sought medical advice, was prescribed antidepressants and in the last month went to see a psychotherapist. Although Dan describes his recovery as a ‘long process’, his life has improved after starting a new job at The Rusbrooke Arms, in Sicklesmere.
“There’s no pressure, it’s just so much more relaxing and I’m not on my own,” he said.
As well as supporting Mind Your Head, he promotes mental health awareness on Twitter and has spoken about the issue with students at Easton College.
Dan said: “Typically, farmers bottle it up and carry on. That’s where it’s going wrong and people are sadly losing their lives because they feel like they can’t speak to anyone. There are always people out there who will listen. Don’t fight this on your own.”
More by this authorPaul Derrick