Teagasc and Mental Health Ireland (MHI) have launched a joint publication called ‘Coping with the Pressures of Farming’. It will be a valuable reference for those dealing with farmers on a day-to-day basis, such as agricultural advisors, vets, DAFM officials, banks, suppliers, accountants and solicitors who must be aware of the mental health impacts of financial burdens and other issues affecting the mental health of rural dwellers. It will also be a valuable resource for farm families.
Mairead McGuinness MEP, who launched the new publication on the Teagasc stand at the National Ploughing Championships, said, “This is an important and timely publication. It provides the tools to allow farming families to identify the symptoms of persistent stress, but more importantly what to do about it.”
She continued, “I commend those involved in compiling this comprehensive booklet and urge farming families to use the information and supports outlined in it and learn how to recognise the symptoms of stress and take steps to manage or reduce it. Supports are available to rural people through professional counselling, financial advice, and farm management expertise. I particularly welcome a growing openness to acknowledge that life can at times seem difficult and stressful and that farming with its many uncertainties and sometimes solitary natures of work can be especially stressful. No one should suffer on their own and this tool will see to it that help and support is available.”
Barry Caslin from Teagasc said, “The dynamic of farming has changed considerably, with the pressure on farmers either to scale up or ship out. Financial pressures often lead to increased stress and pressure on family relationships. Teagasc understands very well the concerns of farmers who are suffering under huge pressure, quite often farmers who have taken on loans to invest in their enterprises which they are now trying to repay. Those farmers and many others may find it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think that there are times when we should take a step back and look beyond such financial pressures and feel comfortable talking about any mental health concerns they may have.
Finola Colgan from Mental Health Ireland said, “Providing relevant and comprehensive information on core farming matters and health and well-being is important. A book of this nature is a valuable resource as the information contained in it is helpful for people at times of crisis and can reduce a sense of loneliness and isolation.”
The publication is available on the Teagasc website