A NEW documentary hopes to shed 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', is described as 'an unyielding look' at mental health in British agriculture, with personal and emotional testimony 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, the filmmakers have also included input from industry stakeholders.

The film starts with Matt, a farmer who lost half his flock during the Beast from the East; followed by Tony and Tim, a 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.

Examining the problems British agriculture is facing from the perspective of filmmakers who live and work outside of the industry, the film aims to provide 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.

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, by 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.”

Marketing and communications manager with the Farming Community Network, Alex Phillimore, 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.”

The film will be released, to rent or buy, on January 4, 2021 through Amazon. To find out more, visit https://www.recutcollective.com/underthesoil