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The DPJ Foundation was set up in July 2016 following the tragic passing of Daniel Picton-Jones, to support people in the agricultural industry suffering from poor mental health.

The DPJ Foundation was founded by Emma, Daniel’s widow to provide people with support that people like him didn’t know how to get. Daniel Picton-Jones was an agricultural contractor working in a sector with one of the highest suicide rates. His mental health issues went undiagnosed, and his problems were unseen by many. 

Now a renowned name within the agricultural community, the work that the foundation has done to support people within the industry has been extraordinary. This month we have had the pleasure to speak with Kate Miles, the Charity Manager for The DPJ Foundation. Kate has worked for the foundation since August 2020 and oversees all aspects of the Charity’s work, as well as delivering some of the work herself.

What are the core values of the DPJ Foundation?

The DPJ Foundation’s core values are to support the mental health of the agricultural community in Wales.  We try to challenge the stigma that surrounds poor mental health, educate people on mental health and how to support someone who is struggling, and we offer support to those with poor mental health and their families.  

Our goal is to make it easy for people in the agricultural community to get help when they need it and to know what to do if someone that they know is struggling. Our services are designed with farmers in mind.

When the DPJ Foundation was set up in July 2016 by Emma following the suicide of her husband Daniel Picton-Jones, there was no other similar help available.  Emma wanted to ensure that people like Daniel had access to support when they needed it, in a way that would work for them.  She also wanted to ensure that people like her could receive support and information as well.  Understanding how best to support someone with poor mental health is something that we try to promote through our Mental Health Awareness Training.

Lockdowns must have been an extremely challenging time for the DPJ foundation, how have you overcome the effects of Covid in the past year? 

Covid was difficult for everyone, but for the DPJ Foundation it coincided with us expanding our services to include North and East Wales.  This presented us with some challenges as we were unable to raise awareness of our services in the same way.  Many people lost their support networks and the usual activities that promoted wellbeing for them (such as team sports and socialising) in this time.  

Missing out on a summer of agricultural shows and events was a big barrier for us because these shows provide valuable opportunities for us to promote our services and to reach more people.  We actually saw an increase in calls to our helpline after the covid lockdowns had eased and once life returned to a bit more normality. The reason behind this is that we were able to get back out into the community to promote and raise awareness of how to access our support services again as the restrictions were lifted.

What’s new with the DPJ, have you got any new events or ventures coming up?

It’s an exciting time for the DPJ and we have many projects on the go.  We have just launched a series of children’s picture books to support with bereavement, which will be available in Welsh and English before the end of the year.  We are currently in the process of getting these out to schools and libraries all across Wales.

We are also working on a project with FAW and FUW connecting our services with football clubs, offering training and skills to people in community football clubs.

In December, we will be launching a new project in Pembrokeshire, the Hywel Davies Lorry. This will be a cattle lorry that will be visiting markets around the area with some extra services onboard.  We hope that this will be a different way to reach members of the agricultural community.

What do you wish more people knew about your organization and the issues you’re trying to solve?

A message that we try to promote is that we all have mental health, it’s just that for most of us, most of the time it’s good.  However, we all have bad days, and we will all experience periods where our mental health dips.  Therefore, knowing what to do about that is important.  Equally, we all have a role to play in supporting our community: whether that is sending a text to someone you haven’t seen for a while, or helping to support a family member when they are going through a difficult period.

We also really wish that our community knew how carefully we protect the details of the people who call us and how confidentially we treat every call.  Callers are only asked for their first name, and we don’t ask for their address.  Sometimes people will approach me and expect that I know they have been in touch.  This simply isn’t the case: the only people who know someone has been in touch are the person making the call and the one who took the call.  If someone chooses to access counselling, then our counselling administrator will also have their details as will their counsellor.  Of course, we capture themes that come through our helpline such as financial challenges or more calls around loneliness, but we never share identifying information about the callers.

What would make the greatest difference in helping your organization grow and improve your services?

Volunteers are crucial in making the DPJ a success, they are the ones that deliver our ‘Share the Load’ service and raise awareness within communities. Without volunteers, we would come to a halt.  If anyone would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer, we have details on our website.

The other thing that really helps us to grow is when people follow our social media posts and share them.  This helps us to get word out about our services as well as reaching people who otherwise may not be aware of us.

You can follow our social media here: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

If you or a loved one have been struggling with poor mental health, we’re here to help share the load.  Our 24/7 confidential helpline is available free to call on 0800 587 4262.  Also, we have a line for texts only which is 07860 048799.  All calls are confidential, and you will be asked for your first name only.

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