Selfie Campaign Aims to Raise Support for Farmers

Tractor Selfie.jpegIn the past year, local farmers have used social media to upload selfies with their tractors to show support for a fellow farmer and close friend who took his life last year.

The tractors selfie campaign was started in July by Alex Paske in memory of a local farmer who was 29 when he died.
Thousands of selfies have been posted across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by farmers as far away as Australia.

Ms Paske said that she was inspired by last year’s Ice Bucket Challenge to use social media to launch a fundraising appeal for Papyrus, a charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide amongst young people.

The campaign has been particularly impressive on Twitter, with even the BBC getting involved. So far it has raised almost £2900.

People have been encouraged to take a selfie with a tractor, and donate to the charity Papyrus. They upload their snap to social media using the appeal’s signature hashtag, and challenge their friends to do the same by nominating them.

Suicide rates in farmers are the highest of any profession, such is the level that Max Kutner of Newsweek labelled it an ‘international crisis’ in a cover story article. According to Newsweek, one farmer a week commits suicide in the UK.

FG Insight, the news website and home of Farmers Guardian, was told by Ms Paske that ‘farming can be an isolating job especially during the summer, when farmers can be sat alone in tractors for hours on end, allowing their thoughts to run away with them’.

The campaign aimed to raise awareness of mental health issues within the farming community by removing the stigma surrounding it.

Papyrus is a national charity that works to prevent suicide among young people, providing confidential help and advice to vulnerable individuals, or anyone worried about a young person.

George Carmichael