New documentary film exposes the ‘mental health crisis’ in agriculture

Image stills from the film are available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1re74iJTcpTHGNH10eAWNw2RM60CAcrQF?usp=sharing

A new documentary is shedding light on the issue of mental ill-health in British farming through interviews with those living and working in the industry. 

The feature length documentary, Under the Soil, takes an unyielding look at the current mental health crisis in British agriculture. Through personal and emotional testimony, the documentary provides insights from three individuals, all of whom have had struggles with mental ill-health.

With contributions from the National Farmers’ Union and The Farming Community Network (FCN), the filmmakers have also included input from key industry stakeholders.

The film starts with Matt, the farmer who lost half his flock during the beast from the East; followed by Tony and Tim, the man who tried to take his own life and the son who stopped him; and finally, Emma, whose husband’s struggle culminated in him taking his own life. 

The film will be released on 4 January 2021 through Amazon, with the film costing £1.49 to rent, and £2.49 to buy online.  

This entirely independent film takes an intriguing look at the problems British agriculture is facing from the perspective of the filmmakers who live and work outside of the industry. With all of the crew working across the Film and TV sector – opposed to within British agriculture – the film provides a different viewpoint for those in the industry and the wider British public, who are perhaps unaware of the multifaceted issues that lead to agriculture consistently having one of the highest suicide rates in the UK.

The film’s director, Archie Guinchard, said: “We think our film provides a very different take, on what is a real scandal at the heart of British Agriculture. One that few people across wider society really want to confront.  It is in this hope that, the film can have some small but positive impact. In not only increasing the wider conversation in the farming community, but also to help shape some form of understanding across wider society. Offering a small but much needed window into the many struggles within the agriculture, that places them under such immense pressure.” 

In a time where the problems facing farming across the U.K. are only increasing, the film offers a timely and informative contribution to the wider conversation. 

Alex Phillimore, Marketing and Communications Manager with the Farming Community Network, said: “Under the Soil provides an important and timely insight into the issue of mental ill-health in British agriculture. This year FCN has seen an increase in mental health calls to our national Helpline (03000 111 999). Isolation and loneliness are real issues in this sector, particularly in a year with many events in the farming calendar being cancelled or postponed. We hope the film will help to raise awareness about this important issue and help to improve the availability of support for those in need.”

To find out more about the film, please contact this film’s director – Archie Guinchard – via Archieguinchard@gmail.com  

Or, for further details, imagery and the trailer visit https://www.recutcollective.com/underthesoil

If you or a loved one would like to speak to someone in confidence, the Farming Community Network can be contacted on 03000 111 999 or help@fcn.org.uk

ENDS

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