Wales

Farming therapy for mental health issues in Pembrokeshire

Eurig Evans Image copyright Menter a Busnes
Image caption Eurig Evans wants to create a "care farm" to help people who are struggling

A dairy farmer is dealing with the "solitary" existence he sometimes leads by inviting people with mental health issues on to his land.

Eurig Evans rears 150 heifers on 200 acres near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire.

He is starting a course to become a counsellor and wants to create a "care farm" to help people who are struggling.

It comes as a survey of 44,000 people found 48% of respondents experienced a mental health problem in their job.

Agricultural workers are seen at particular risk of suffering mental health issues, with Mr Evans determined to use the resilience he has developed to help others struggling to cope with life.

"As farmers, we don't necessarily see anyone in a day," said Mr Evans.

"But leaving the farm, even for one hour, is therapy in itself."

He has already started tutoring land-based studies part time at Coleg Plas Dwbl in Clynderwen.

Image copyright Menter a Busnes
Image caption Mr Evans wants his farmland therapy project to be his legacy

But he wants to expand that so people who are struggling with life can visit his land to develop coping and life skills.

"If you can turn someone living with heroin addiction around, you can do anything," he said.

He is planning to offer nature-based activities and woodworking workshops as well as a chance to help rear lambs and milking.

Economic development company Menter a Busnes cited research by mental health charity Mind, which showed 48% of 44,000 people surveyed have experienced a mental health problem in their current job.

Menter a Busnes is working with Mind Cymru to raise awareness of mental health issues and activities that support wellbeing.

Cardiff Mind chief executive Roger Bone said it was important to create an environment where people can talk about mental health issues "openly and without fear".

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