A senator is urging farmers to mind their mental health as the sector’s busiest time coincides with Level 5 lockdown and Brexit pressures.
Dairy farmer and Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, is advising farmers to avoid suffering in silence and to seek help if at all necessary.
“Farming can be a very isolating job at the best of times. But long days spent alone on the land can usually be counterbalanced by socialising with friends, meeting up with extended family and other leisure outlets like team sports.
“Many farmers aren’t seeing anyone from one day to the next. It’s fair to say everyone is suffering from lockdown fatigue at the moment.”
Another big factor affecting farmers is the adverse weather and dark nights and mornings, making working outdoors “all the more difficult”.
“I’m appealing to all farmers to keep an eye on their mental health. There is nothing wrong with seeking help; it is, in fact, a sign of strength and courage to be able to reach out during a time of need.
“A usually stressful time of solitary work has been exacerbated by the stress we are all feeling about the global pandemic. The usual social outlets of a pint with friends, a chat with family or a game of football aren’t an option.“
Research has shown that there is a 50% chance of a farmer struggling with mental health problems throughout their career. “Let’s do everything we can to lessen those odds in favour of Irish farmers.
“Your GP is a good port of call if you’re not feeling like yourself. But if you don’t want to contact them, pick up the phone to a friend, a family member or another farmer.”
He said a simple phone call can have a very positive impact and others, and a problem shared is a problem halved.
“This latest lockdown has been mentally bruising and is taking its toll on all of us. Sleepless nights of calving and lambing, long days alone on the land in appalling weather conditions, and financial worries about Brexit are only adding to the burden.”