The DPJ Foundation is today (January 15) celebrating four years of helping Welsh farmers to 'Share the load'.

Listening, supporting, and helping the people of Wales across the agricultural community, initially in Pembrokeshire and since autumn 2019 throughout the whole of the country, the DPJ Foundation has provided counselling to more than 500 people.

Share The Load is a 24/7 confidential call and text line with a free counselling referral service, specifically for those in Welsh agriculture.

The DPJ Foundation prides itself on its non-judgmental, Samaritans-trained volunteers who are always there when needed. Share the Load is different to many helplines as it gives the option of fully funded professional counselling in English or Welsh to those who want it.

Emma Picton Jones, who established the charity five-and-a-half years ago following her husband Daniel’s death by suicide, said: “Never did I imagine that four years ago, the idea of providing free counselling to those in the agricultural community would have gone as far as it has.

"I am extremely proud of this service: to know that every farmer in Wales has access to free counselling, be that at home, on the farm or in the local area is something that we could have only ever dreamed of. I am so grateful to all of our wonderful volunteers who have provided hours of support on the call line over the last four years.”

She added: “When we set up Share the Load, I was keen to ensure that callers knew their call was confidential. This is why we only ask for your first name and don’t ask for your address. I also was aware of the long waiting times so am really proud that we guarantee access to free counselling within a week of someone making that call”.

Speaking about the team of around 50 counsellors across Wales, she added: “Our counsellors are qualified professionals and can help with a wide range of issues. We have specialists who have helped people struggling with bereavement, feeling alone, dealing with health issues or mental health problems as well as those who have been thinking of ending their own life. We really have a tremendous team of volunteers, counsellors and staff and I am so proud of them all”.

The DPJ Foundation is marking the anniversary by sharing stories that have been contributed by people they have helped across their social media.

One of these who asked to share their story is Dan who says: “When my mental health was at its worst, I could not see a way out. I’ve had counselling and it’s been the best spent hours of my life. I’m in such a good place now I’m enjoying every bit of my family and work, sleeping well, and eating well.”

  • If you have been helped by the DPJ Foundation and would like to use your story to help other people, they are asking you to get in touch with them by emailing, calling 07984 169652 or sending a message on social media. The foundation is also asking people to spread the word about the Share the Load helpline by displaying posters, leaflets, car, trailer, and bale stickers anywhere that you can.