Farmers strive for mental well-being

Farmers strive for mental well-being

Farmers will do their best for mental health this month.

In its third year, Ag Mental Health Week takes place October 10-16, founder Peter Hynes hopes to encourage as many people as possible to get outdoors and “go the long haul for mental well-being”, and take some space for themselves.

“Go for a walk, run, or bike at some point during the week,” said Heinz, a dairy farmer in Ahirla.

“We felt so inclined, for someone who didn’t go out walking and running, it’s a nice, easy distance.

“Last year, there were about 1,400 people who did the ‘Mental Wellbeing Lean’ during the week and we turned it on on one specific day. This year, we’re letting it run all week, and we encourage people to do it at some point in the week.”

“We found that if you’re in the field on a tractor or you’re a vet on the road, it’s easy to stop at lunchtime and go for a one-mile walk, clean your head, get a little bit of room for yourself, a little fresh air.”

a very difficult profession

During the week, Mr. Hines said a series of discussions will be streamed live on the Ag Mental Health Week Facebook page, which features guest speakers including veterinarians, Samaritans, Mental Health Canada The Do More Agriculture Foundation, MEP Maria Walsh, and representatives from Ulster Farmers Union.

Mr Haynes said that as a sector, “we need to do everything we can to improve mental health awareness”.

“The statistics are scary, we lose more farmers to suicide than we lose to farm accidents, and the chances of a farmer struggling with mental health in their career are over 50%,” he said. Irish Examiner.

“We need to encourage farmers and people working in the agriculture sector to prioritize their mental wellbeing and to do simple things every day to take care of themselves.”

While it’s a “very rewarding” profession, Hines acknowledges that farming is “a huge challenge.”

“We are seeing that with droughts, floods and input prices putting farmers under more pressure, global markets can fluctuate easily, and there is always some pressure coming,” he continued.

“We need people to take care of themselves so they can deal with those pressures, which is also a fact that it can be such a lonely business as well, and sometimes it can be so busy that we need to encourage more people to talk and look for each other “.

Mr. Heinz urges any farmer who might have a hard time asking for help – because “there is always someone willing to listen and willing to help, and there is always support there”.

“Something on an isolated farm can seem like a huge challenge; by asking for advice and asking for support, there is always someone who can find a solution to a problem in the yard that will cause a lot of stress and a lot of stress to an individual.”

“I think we are very good at taking care of our livestock, but we need to take better care of ourselves.

“There are a lot of great secret support lines out there, it’s just a case of asking for help and there’s absolutely no shame in it.”

small farmers

Mr Haynes said he believed a “serious and hard look” should be taken “to ensure that small farmers, in their training, have the tools to prioritize their mental health and well-being”.

“It should be part of the curriculum,” he said.

“I think we need to go to the level where we provide suicide crisis response training for students in agricultural colleges — if there is nothing other than giving them the tools to deal with life, and also to show that it’s okay to talk about suicide.

“We have prioritized farm safety in agricultural farming training, but we need to start doing the same in terms of mental well-being and health because every passing year we don’t ensure that training is available to small farmers, we are losing more and more farmers – and that is the harsh reality” .

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