IFA National Farm Family Chair Margaret Healy today (Wednesday) addressed the “Women + Agriculture Conference 2012” organised by the Irish Farmers’ Journal, on IFA’s campaign to deal with stress and other mental health challenges farm families face. ”Financial pressures, increased regulation, unpredictable working and weather conditions and long hours are the main causes of stress on farms,” she said.
”The last few years have been very tough for many farm families, due to falling farm incomes, with many farms now trying to sustain extra people due to the loss of off-farm incomes, as well as heavy debt burdens.”
IFA’s campaign is aimed at supporting farmers’ mental health and tackling the issues associated with these problems.
“The Association have hosted a series of national meetings to promote greater awareness of mental health concerns and services. Speakers from See Change and the National Office of Suicide Prevention addressed each of the IFA’s 29 County Executive meetings and the feedback from these talks has been overwhelming.”
“The stigma of depression and suicidal thoughts still exists particularly in rural areas. IFA’s campaign enables people to talk about the worries that are affecting them,” Ms Healy added.
“I would urge anyone who feels if they are suffering from unmanageable pressure to talk to a trusted friend, family member, neighbour or call a helpline. Alternatively please see www.IFA.ie for IFA’s helpful and informative “Let’s talk – dealing with stress” leaflet, this clearly outlines how farmers can protect themselves from the stresses in their daily lives,” she concluded.