Hans * fixing machines, plowing fields, feeding animals. He will retire long, but he also handles every day. Until the doctor forbids him from working after an accident. The ranch in Bernbiet, his life's work, he gave to his son. Instead of sitting in a tractor Hans sat at home and pondered: "Does it still need me?"
This question also encourages Erwin *. When his father died, the business moved into his hands. Young Bernese farmers cannot overcome new unwanted roles. He broke the pressure to do, through several depressive phases. The page is dying. Until even Erwin couldn't get rid of his thoughts: "Does it still need me?"
Lukas Schwyn knew the question well. "He took some farmers completely, unfortunately, circling in his head," said the president of the rural Sorgentelefons. "Callings from farmers who were burned out and hopelessly increased behind us."
They are answered by farmers. "The caller needs to feel there is someone there who understands their problem." Someone has to give perspective, "open the horizon," Schwyn said. And make sure that the victim finds help, for example through the mediation of a therapist.
Without support, the farmers will be left alone. Hans and Erwin only found one answer to their question: they took their own lives this year.
For a long time, peasant suicide remained taboo. The public debate developed in 2016, when there were eight cases in the Vaud cantonment. A little later met with three young Thurgau farmers. "Then the question arises about how often peasant suicides occur. And if this happens more often than in the rest of the population,» said Nicole Steck of the Institute for Social Medicine and Prevention at Bern University. Funded by the National Fund, she explores this problem with the team, and on Thursday he presented the first results at the conference in Neuchatel.
The researchers examined the period from 1991 to 2014. They considered nearly 1.8 million Swiss men between 35 and 74 from rural communities. There are 33 suicides per 100,000 years of life. If you only see people with the Bauer profession, that number is 38. In absolute terms: Of the nearly 90,000 farmers explored 447 committed suicide during the investigation period.
The suicide rate has declined – but not among farmers
"Because of the feedback and discussion in the past few years, we have to estimate that amount," said Markus Ritter, President of the Swiss Farmers Association. "They make us very affected and can only guess what humans are destined to behind."
Every case is different and very tragic. "In our village and in this region, I know some people on the farm who committed suicide," Ritter said. "This fate has made me personal. You are looking for the reason. We are wondering if someone can help. You also usually remain confused.»
Since 2003, the suicide rate of Swiss men from rural communities has decreased significantly according to the study. In the case of farmers, on the other hand, the tendency is slightly increased. The consequence: Recently, farmers have a suicide risk 37 percent higher.
There are special reasons, according to Franziska Feller. "So family and business cannot be separated," said the President mediating networks in rural areas. "The crisis in marriage has a direct negative effect on work and vice versa." There are also concerns about the future. "Older farmers cannot cope with digitalization, or with increased bureaucracy." Others will not find a surrogate operation. "Or they give up the page and feel really worthless afterward," said Feller.
Young farmers are worried about the heavy workload, but they barely make enough money to live. And loneliness: "Often they don't find women who want to stay in the yard, live alone for a lifetime," said Feller. "They feel that nobody has missed them. A very dangerous thought where we immediately provide assistance.»
When it comes to suicide, many farmers choose the same path. According to the study, 60 percent took life by hanging, 25 percent with firearms. In the population comparison, the most common type of suicide is shooting (36%). "The fact that farmers often choose depends on methods depends on the availability on a farm," said Thomas Reisch, medical director at the Department of Depression and Anxiety at Münsingen BE.
The environment is also responsible
To prevent suicide, emergency calls are very helpful. "They must be as accessible as possible. Especially farmers are considered confidential. They often struggle to receive outside help."
Many cantonal farmer associations have created such offers in recent years. But Reisch also saw the environment as his responsibility. "In addition to families, there are also permanent tables, many clubs and village communities close to the countryside," he said. "If someone goes into a crisis, you should address the person concerned in a framework that is familiar with the problem. And get help in an emergency.» * N
Assistance to farmers is provided by the Farmer's Telephone on 041 820 02 15 or the website www.hofkonflikt.ch (Sunday newspaper)
Created: 10.11.2018, 23:11