© Sabine Joosten/Hollandse Hoogte

Flemish farmers have more mental problems "but only 1 in 4 seeking help"

Farmers in Flanders have more things on their mind than before the corona crisis: finances, the work-life balance and mental health are the main issues. Meanwhile, it turns out that only a minority is seeking professional help. The Flemish government will stage a dialogue. 

The research was carried out by the Flemish ILVO Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries and included 300 respondents. Two in three respondents say they that their problems have grown since the start of the corona crisis, almost one in two are pessimistic. 

It turns out that their financial problems have increased, says researcher Lies Messely of the ILVO.  "Then there is the combination between work and family. Farmers live where they work, which triggers extra stress. Another factor is their mental health. They are often proud people who feel responsible for their business and who find it hard to take the step to professional help when they are facing mental problems." 

Messely adds that "many farmers are finding it hard to talk about it." According to figures, only 1 in 4 is seeking professional help. The sector will be talking to the Flemish Agriculture Minister Hilde Crevits today. The organisation "Boeren op een Kruispunt" has already installed a helpline (digital and via a free telephone number) hoping that more farmers will take the step.  

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