British Farming Awards winner Sam Stables and his wife Emily set up a charity to help break down the stigma around mental health within the farming community. They have now received a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister.

A couple from Hereford, who set up a charity to help break down the stigma attached to mental health within the farming community have received a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

Sam Stables had always wanted to become a farmer, but struggled with the isolation that comes with the job. Agriculture has one of the highest rates of suicide, with poor mental health being 46% higher in farming than in any other occupation.

Mr Stables found talking helped with his recovery. He said if there had been somebody to speak to about his worries earlier, he may have been able to seek help before reaching a crisis point.

In September 2020, Mr Stables and his wife, Emily set up ‘We are Farming Minds’ to support others going through similar struggles.

The charity runs a befriending service and a 24-hour dedicated helpline, staffed by trained volunteers. It offers funding for farmers to get help from professional counselling services. Mr and Mrs Stables have received this award during ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’, part of a campaign to increase people’s awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

Mark Spencer MP, Farming Minister, said:

“Farming is all about providing for others, but it is crucial to remember that there is no shame in seeking help for yourself.

“I want to commend the invaluable work being done by Sam and Emily with ‘We Are Farming Minds’ to break the stigma of mental health and loneliness in our agricultural communities.”

The Rt Hon Jesse Norman, Mr and Mrs Stables’ local MP, said:

“This is a fantastic initiative. ‘We are Farming Minds’ is one of the nation’s first farmer specific 24-hour helplines, and is already helping farmers all across the UK who are struggling with the mental health challenges that come with the demanding nature of their work and lives.”