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Call for people in rural areas to be open about mental health

PUBLISHED: 19:09 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:12 12 December 2018

Norfolk farmer David Papworth, who died at his home in Tuttington in August 2018 at the age of 73.

Norfolk farmer David Papworth, who died at his home in Tuttington in August 2018 at the age of 73.

Archant © 2006

The son of a Norfolk farming champion has said he hopes his father’s death will encourage more people in rural communities to open up about mental health.

Well-known farmer David Papworth died suddenly at his home in Tuttington, near Aylsham on August 18 this year.

An inquest held in Norwich on Tuesday heard how, in the months preceding his death, the 73-year-old had been suffering from severe back pain that had negatively impacted on his mental health.

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, gave a conclusion of suicide.

The inquest heard from his family, a post-mortem report and police officers who were called to his home.

Following the inquest, his son Kit Papworth said: “David Papworth was a kind, loving and sensitive man - husband, father, grandfather and brother. He was an astute businessman and an excellent and instinctive farmer.

“For some years he had suffered from poor health which ultimately impacted upon his mental wellbeing.”

He added: “Mental health is a huge concern for the agricultural industry, claiming one life a week in the UK.”

Mr Papworth said he believed a number of different factors, including long hours, isolation and a culture of pride which affected people’s willingness to open up about their mental health, contributed. He said: “I do think there are a number of people who are quite proud, maybe quite old fashioned and as a community we’re not always as open as we could be.

“We support the work of those charities such as You Are Not Alone (YANA) and The Farming Community Network which seek to help those in rural communities who have mental health concerns. We urge anyone who may need support or help to contact one of these charities. I’m deeply sad my dad isn’t around anymore but I hope this can help someone else.”

Jo Hoey, from YANA, said: “The farming community in Norfolk is a tight knit one so we are all devastated when there is a tragic death like this, but help is available.”

YANA provides confidential counselling for those in farming and rural industries across Norfolk and Suffolk, it can be contacted at anytime by calling 0300 323 0400 or by emailing johoey@yanahelp.org

The Samaritans can be called for free, at any time on 116 123 or by emailing: jo@samaritans.org

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