The scourge of suicide in the agricultural world is a reality. According to the latest data available from the Mutualité sociale agricole (MSA), 605 peasants (496 men and 109 women) lost their lives in 2015, the over 65s being the most affected. A higher rate of 12.62% compared to the rest of the population.
To better identify, understand and prevent these tragedies, in 2019 the Senate set up a transpartisan working group, led by Françoise Férat (centrist Union group) and Henri Cabanel (RDSE group, with a radical majority) which, in parallel of its hearings – disrupted by the Covid-19 and the electoral deadlines -, launched on December 9 and until Friday an online platform to collect testimonies from relatives of farmers who ended their own lives.
Tuesday, 116 people had answered the questionnaire, the senator aims “About 120” by Friday. Then the time will come “To analyze these writings», then to go and meet some of these decimated families but also associations, indicates the elected official, a winegrower in the Hérault.
First trip planned for the end of January with Sophie Primas, President of the Economic Affairs Commission, in the Morbihan department where the beef and dairy sectors dominate, “Most affected by suicides, according to our interlocutor. These are those with living organisms that require the animals to be looked after seven days a week, on which weigh many health and economic risks.». As we know, there are many factors in the act of taking action: financial difficulties, heavy workload, personal problems, regulatory and administrative burdens, isolation and loneliness, criticisms of the conventional agricultural model… Henri Cabanel insists “The need to reach out to these populations in difficulty” which, very often, are closed in on themselves.
For several years, however, a number of initiatives have already been carried out, in particular by the MSA, mandated by the State to implement several national suicide prevention plans in the agricultural world. With in particular statistical studies allowing a precise assessment of the phenomenon, a permanent listening number provided by psychologists (Agri’écoute), the creation of multidisciplinary departmental prevention units with social workers, experts in prevention in occupational risks, doctors. advice and occupational physicians to detect psychosocial risks as well as a network of sentinels, reinforced in 2018. Not to mention all the other actors involved in the problem: Farmer Solidarity, the Chamber of Agriculture, association of psychological assistance for entrepreneurs in acute distress (APESA), Amarok assistance…
An insufficient deployment according to the LREM deputy Olivier Damaisin, at the origin ofa report of 29 proposals delivered on 1is December to the Prime Minister and which is complementary to the work of senators. “Support initiatives in areas closest to farmers are developing, but they are not necessarily coordinated, nor known to farmers and to the various stakeholders themselves. Progress is thus expected to better qualify the risks and to organize locally in an efficient way, detection, listening and management.», is it particularly detailed. Senator Cabanel adds: “There is a lack of humanity in current organizations.”
After Morbihan, it will be the turn of Indre-et-Loire and Vienne to receive the visit of elected officials who will close their Tour de France at the end of February before submitting their document to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. , Julien Denormandie, who should make announcements in the wake. If, on the side of the Senate, the importance of recognizing burnout among farmers is particularly emphasized, the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), contacted by Release, hopes for a more substantial respite (leave) assistance, as well as the establishment of social minima during difficult periods. Decree or bill, it remains to be seen by what process the minister will decide to apply his choices.
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