Farmers might not be the most articulate about stress and the issues around stress but that doesn’t mean it’s not part of their lives, according to HSA Philologist Patricia Murray.

She said farmers might not have the language to express it, and may appear laid back, but behind it all like everybody else they may have stress and strains.

“Farmers are often quite isolated so there are stresses there that they might not articulate as much as other people do,” she said.

With much talk of expansion, particularly in the dairy sector, Murray said that stress is something that expanding farmers must be concious of.

“Sustainable expansion is the theme.

“As the word (expansion) suggests, obviously farmers are using more resources expanding and doing more work often.

“Often this is either with the same, less or a little bit more resources.

“The whole idea of expanding whether it is in industry, in a factory, in a shop or on a farm is that you are going doing more, learning new things, adapting.

“Farmers are going to come across things they haven’t come across before,” Murray said.

That has two implications, she said.

“One on your own stress levels and the other could be for your own safety.

Murray said it’s not all negative, and stress is absolutely normal and most people can all deal with it.

“Farmers can deal with it as they are robust, resilient, smart, they are often working on there own, they’re problem solvers.

According to Murray, stress can really be remedied quite well. She has three key tips:

  • talking to someone about it;
  • Going to a GP going on some kind of mild medication;
  • Identifing what are the causes and what are my reactions and what can i change myself.

“The biggest step is identifing that you have stress in your life,” she said and often taking yourself out of the situation is necessary before you realise or appreciate that you are stressed.

“Sometimes it’s only when people go on holidays and you find three or four days into it that they were really stressed beforehand.

So, we’re advising farmers and their wives and children to be aware that someone around them might be stressed.