June 24, 2024

This week’s podcast is a very special insight into mental health in farming to coincide with the Farm Safety Foundation’s Mind Your Head campaign – an initiative to promote mental health as the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today.

So our guests for the podcast are two of the most inspirational people I have had the pleasure of interviewing.

They are none other than Warwickshire based farmers Andy and Lynda Eadon.

If you have not heard of Andy and Lynda’s story, it is a really upsetting journey through pain, grief, tragedy and agony.

Their son Leonard Eadon, died on January 1 2022 at the age of 22. Leonard, or Len, had taken his own life.

His death had shocked the farming community and continues to have reverberations by those who knew and loved him dearly.

The Office for National Statistics said 36 farming and agricultural workers in England and Wales had taken their lives during 2021.

Leonard was a young man who had the world at his feet – he was kind, generous, thoughtful and intelligent –  but unfortunately he felt he could no longer keep living.

I could never comprehend the pain Andy and Lynda have endured since Leonard’s death.

It is something they have had to relieve time and time again. 

Losing a child must be one of the most profound and deeply upsetting experiences a human could experience. 

Most people experiencing grief on this scale could have chosen to isolate themselves, to never think, to never hear, and to never discuss the pain of what they went through after losing their son.

But the work Andy and Lynda have achieved to overcome their grief, to raise awareness of mental health in both young and old farmers, as well as relieving that pain time and again to ensure no other family has to deal with its costly consequences has quite frankly moved many to tears.

Channeling their own suffering and heartache to connect with farmers – those who have and have not experienced something similar – and to save lives in the process is truly remarkable.

At the time of recording this podcast on February 13 2024, Andy and Lynda Eadon have helped to raise over £170,000 for mental health charities including the Farming Community Network, The Farm Safety Foundation (also known as Yellow Wellies) and Papyrus – a charity for the prevention of young suicide in the UK. An incredible achievement.

They also set up Len’s Light – a vision for mental health and the issues affecting farmers and how to positively overcome those feelings – which continues to be a ray of light in the goodness of farmers in the face of adversity. 

You might even remember their epic tractor relay tour from John O’Groats to Lands End – a 2,000 mile journey passing through communities in Scotland, Wales and England to ensure the message of positive mental health remains a constant and meaningful message. 

As people, they are always on the move and planning their next step – whether that be discussing mental health with politicians or visiting school children about the importance of maintaining healthy well-being.

To have gone through the loss they have, but to continue helping others is testament to their character and nature. They are wonderful people. 

And at a time when farmers are facing increased pressure to deliver not only for their business, but for the environment and food production, those working in the industry will undoubtedly face the weight and challenge that brings.

Working seven days a week, sometimes for over 15 hours, with very little contact in what can be one of the loneliest professions.

Andy and Lynda are doing all they can to keep the message alive.

They are hosting several Big Farming tea breaks across the UK to get farmers together to have positive conversations about their health and well-being.

Enjoy the podcast as they discuss the power of conversation and mental health in farming.


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