Researchers launch survey mapping farmer mental-health literacy
A research team from DCU’s School of Health and Human Performance have launched a new anonymous online survey, called FarMHealth, to catalogue adult farmers’ mental health knowledge and help-seeking behaviour.
The DAFM-funded FarMHealth is part of a wider research project that strives to develop a bespoke nationwide mental health programme designed specifically to help farmers identify signs of poor mental health and seek mental health support if required.
The research team hopes to secure 500 responses to document help-seeking nationwide.
After nearly three years of disruption, rates of mental health difficulties remain high in Ireland – particularly in the farming cohort – researchers said.
Farming, the group added, is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country.
The injury rate is eight times greater than the average worker, and globally, farmers are considered a group at risk of developing mental health issues.
Associate Professor in Athletic Therapy and Training, Dr Siobhan O’Connor, explained:
“Stigma and a lack of knowledge related to mental health issues can prevent individuals from recognising their struggle and seeking professional help.”
“So even though services, information and supports may be available, the farmers who they are designed for may not be engaging with them.”
“Better attitudes toward mental health, the normalisation of seeking help from mental health services/supports and the wide availability of tailored mental health services can create a positive mental health culture, which not only benefits the well-being of individual farmers but our rural communities at large.”
If you are a male or female aged 18 or older, you can fill out the survey via this link.
Mental health in farming
Meanwhile, in a previous interview with That’s Farming MEP for the Midlands-North-West Constituency, Maria Walsh urged rural and farming communities to ensure they utilise various mental health resources and recognise the importance of “speaking to and supporting each other”.
She told That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane:
“For me, mental health is an integral part of a farm safety model. I am distraught every time I hear that a life is lost due to death by suicide, anxiety levels or depression, and it is on the rise, particularly after what we have experienced as a world.”
Read more in this news article.