Farming charity Rural Support, together with its CSR partner, local wind energy company, Simple Power, has issued advice for farmers to coincide with World Mental Health Day on Monday 10th October and National Farmers Day on Wednesday 12th October.
Recent research from the charity highlighted that financial pressures associated with the agricultural downturn were having a significant impact on farmers in Northern Ireland.
The insightful research revealed that the majority of farmers who were experiencing financial difficulties also had the poorest average mental health score which shows the impact the agricultural downturn is having on Northern Ireland’s farming community.
Following these findings, Rural Support and Simple Power are urging farmers to look after their mind and body and reassuring the agriculture community that help is available through Rural Support’s services such as its confidential helpline and on-farm business support.
Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann commented: “Farm life involves long hours and can be very stressful. The added pressure of the agricultural downturn which has affected commodity prices, has not made things any easier for the farming community in Northern Ireland. 86% of farmers who participated in our research felt that their farm business had suffered a noticeable, big or severe impact as a result of the downturn. As they aim to plan for the future and keep up with agriculture developments, it can be easy for farmers to get stressed which, as a result, can have a negative impact on their mental health.
“Our message is to keep your body and mind in good health and to watch out for the signs of stress that include trouble with sleeping, irritability, frequent colds and feeling like you are at the end of your tether. If you see or feel these signs, our advice is to take notice and take action - help is available. Rural Support’s helpline number is 0845 606 7 607 and we can help with issues that are stressful or upsetting.”