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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Cork couple’s Ag Mental Health Week garners global support 

Ag Mental Health Week 2021 takes place from October 10th-16th, with an aim to reduce the stigma around suicide and mental health and highlight the importance of prioritising mental well-being.

Cork dairy farmers, Peter and Paula Hynes, founded Ag Mental Health Week last year.  

They have received support from a global group of like-minded leaders who share a commitment to addressing mental health within the agricultural industry.  

Ag Mental Health Week 2021

Ag Mental Health Week aptly begins on World Mental Health Day and will feature daily social posts with well-being tips and panel discussions that explore mental health issues from various perspectives. 

Organisers will live-stream panel discussions on Facebook with the line-up to include:

  • Racheal McGrath, a young Australian dairy farmer. Conor Hammersley, a Teagasc PhD scholar from Ireland. Jessica Sperber, a student, pursuing a PhD in ruminant nutrition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA); 
  • Minister Martin Heydon from Ireland and Minister Bloyce Thompson from Canada; 
  • Dr Rachel Ward from BBC Breakfast; 
  • Lizzie Locket, RCVS CEO, and a guest panel of veterinary surgeons from around the world; 
  • Family members of loved ones who faced a mental health crisis. 
One-mile walk/run

To further promote the prioritisation of mental health and wellness, anyone connected to the agriculture industry is encouraged to take a one-mile walk or run on October 13th.

Organisers ask participants to take a photo along their journey and post it to their social media pages using #MileForMentalWellbeing. 

They hope the activity will unite the ag community worldwide and highlight the “crucial” importance of taking breaks, enjoying nature, and clearing our minds. 

In a statement, a spokesperson said: 

“Ag Mental Health Week is well-positioned to highlight multiple activities and resources that support mental health.”

 “Related charities and services are urged to get involved by planning events during the week.”

“Agriculture students are encouraged to focus on making a positive difference during the week, such as hosting a fundraiser for their local support services.

The awareness week comes as farmers are particularly susceptible to poor mental health amid the rising pressures of farm management and feeding the world while often supporting a family.

Organisers acknowledged the instrumental support from Alltech, Zurich Farm Insurance, Z Zurich Foundation, Semex, and Expert Webinars.

Live streams 

Timetable for panel discussions, all of which will take place at 7.00 pm IST on its Facebook page in October on the following dates include:

  • 10th: Young farmers;
  • 11th: Politicians;
  • 12th: Doctors / GP;
  • 13th: Veterinary surgeons;
  • 14th: Agri industry;
  • 15th: Support services;
  • 16th: Family members.
Join the discussion 

Organisers ask the global ag community and its supporters to join the conversation on social media using #AgMentalHealthWeek and follow @AgMentalHealthWeek on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Further reading: 
  • ‘We all struggle and stumble, but the key is to get up again’ – IBLA’s message
  • ‘The mental health issues and dropout rate are a huge concern’ – Vet: Read this article
  • Farmer’s Diary: No man/woman/beast is an Island: Read Clodagh Hughes’ diary entry
  • ‘After years of pressure on the farm, I found my mental health was not in a good place’ – Nick Viney. Read his story.
  • Why this 23-year-old left farming for the sake of his mental health. Read this article
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