“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.”
That is what MEP for the Midlands-North-West Constituency, Maria Walsh, told That’s Farming during an exclusive in-person interview at Claremorris Agricultural Show in Co. Mayo over the weekend.
She urged rural and farming communities to ensure they utilise various mental health resources and highlighted the importance of “speaking to and supporting each other”.
Walsh told That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane:
“This is where we, as neighbours and consumers, have to play our part. We cannot continue destigmatising statistics around mental health. It is incredibly important that people protect each other and mind each other.”
“Ultimately, it is our communities that are our lifebloods to rural Ireland, and we cannot keep losing people through mental health issues.”
The MEP is spearheading a campaign to make 2023 the European year dedicated to mental health.
Her goal is to ensure mental health is affordable and accessible for every citizen, regardless of their location within the European Union.
“Mental health cannot be ignored any longer. It must be a priority for yourself and us across Europe. Let’s drive change to break the stigma around mental health.”
“This means funding and resources for prevention, education, support and research. Help us make this happen. Spread the world. Make your voice heard and sign the petition. People power can make a difference.”
According to European Commission statistics, almost one in six people in the EU were living with a mental health issue in 2018 (pre-pandemic world).
Among the primary triggers that those surveyed identified included social isolation, loss of employment and health anxiety.
The petition – which you can access through this link – will run until September 8th, 2022.
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