IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell said COVID-19 is affecting mental health in different ways, with many people feeling lonely, stressed and anxious.
A recent survey by Amárach has reported a sharp decline in mental wellbeing in recent months as many emotional needs are not being met. People are feeling increasingly insecure; their quality of sleep has declined; their sense of community has been affected; and their sense of meaning has been unmet.
“Overnight the world has been turned upside down and it feels like we have lost control over so many aspects of our lives,” said Mrs. Farrell.
“Many farm families are trying to juggle the demands of farming, working remotely and home schooling. They worry about their financial future with falling commodity prices and rising input costs. People are under enormous stress,” she said.
“Nothing feels or is normal at the moment and it has never been some important that we take care of our mental health and strive to protect our wellbeing. That means taking time to eat and sleep well, get exercise, do something that we enjoy daily and stay in contact with friends and loved ones”.
She encouraged farmers to go the Farming Resilience webpage, which is an initiative between IFA, Mental Health Ireland and Teagasc to get practical information and advice to help you look after your mental health during the pandemic.
“If you are feeling overwhelmed or worried at this time, please reach out and get the help and support you need. You may feel afraid or embarrassed, but don’t ignore your feelings, talk to someone: it could be the most positive move you make”.