Finola Colgan, Mental Health Ireland, has urged farmers to make time for themselves to benefit their mental health and well-being.
She made the appeal in a video on mental health and well-being in farming, which the HSA released on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022, in which third-generation sheep shearer features.
Colgan, a development officer with Mental Health Ireland, and co-author of Coping with the Pressures of Farming, who previously featured on That’s Farming, said:
“We are living in stressful times, but it is also very important to understand that farming brings its own unique stresses basically because of the nature of farming, the demands made of it and the lifestyle that goes with it.”
“So, it is really important that farmers make time for themselves and get off the farm. You could meet a friend for a cup of coffee, a chat, tea or join a card game and make that connection with other people.”
“It could also be a cycle, a jog, or a swim. What is really important is making time for yourself.”
“We are all human, and none of us are the exception to stress or anxiety. What is really important is to go and seek that help.”
“It can be a visit to the doctor; there are lots of excellent helplines out there. Just pick up your phone in the quietness of your own place – inside the tractor – for example – and just make that call.”
“Say hello to the organisation and say I am struggling. That is the start of the conversation,” she concluded.
George Graham’s mental health battle
In the video, Graham, an internationally renowned sheep shearer, discusses his mental health struggles.
He “was one of those people that have found themselves in a very bad, dark place for quite a long time”.
He explained: “Every night, I was going to bed quite early. I was not eating properly, and I was not sleeping properly.”
“Moreover, I did not understand what was wrong with me. I did what a lot of people try to do. I tried to run away from my problem.”
“The only thing in my head 24/7 was that I just wanted to end my own life,” he explained in a video that the HSA released on July 5th, 2022.
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