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Carmichael: “Action needed to tackle farming suicides”

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, spoke of dangers of mental ill health for farmers and crofters. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael spoke about how important good local mental health services are in rural communities to bring down rates of suicide, especially among farmers and veterinarians.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Carmichael said: “When we talk about suicide, we have to recognise that suicide is the last and tragic link in a chain that starts with poor mental health not being treated because there is not adequate services for the people who are going to be relying on them.

“That very often is the case I am afraid because too many of the mental health services are designed in towns and cities who don’t actually have the breadth of understanding of what is needed. On this, as on so many other issues I see, if those decisions can be taken in the local community then they absolutely should be.”

Speaking after the debate, Mr Carmichael said: “Mental ill health is alarmingly high among farmers and veterinarians in rural communities. Local mental health providers work incredibly hard, but they just don’t have the freedom to deliver services for rural communities.

“Farmers and crofters are particularly exposed to the anguish caused by the long physically shattering work, with little pay and huge levels of stress. Without the help and support that ought to be in place, it is little wonder that rates of suicide are so alarming high. “More, bespoke services, are essential to reversing this tide, and helping crofters and farmers live full and fulfilling lives.”

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