‘You Matter’: Hannah’s clothing brand starts conversations about mental health in agriculture
A new and exciting clothing brand has been launched by a member of the Young Farmers’ Clubs in Ulster, raising awareness of the importance of mental health in farming and agriculture, writes Joanne Knox.
Hannah Kirkpatrick, who is a vice-president of the YFCU, launched Matter, clothing with a purpose, in September.
What’s more, 10 per cent of all the profits is being donated to Rural Support to assist with the great work and services they provide for farming families in Northern Ireland.
Rural Support offers a confidential helpline service to farmers and farm families throughout Northern Ireland.
There are hundreds of farmers across the province who are struggling with mental health issues and, through Matter, Hannah wants to remind them that there is help out there and they are not alone.
Hannah, who lives just outside Ballymoney, feels passionate about spreading awareness of the support that is on offer to those who are suffering, especially as the darker, winter months draw nearer.
It was the Covid-19 pandemic - and the subsequent lockdowns that were imposed - that started Hannah on her journey to raise awareness, as well as funds for the charity.
With the additional free time on her hands, the Co. Antrim woman began to draw up designs and source suppliers.
Thanks to the help of her family, she has been busy packaging orders and posting out her ‘conversation starter’ sweatshirts, with plans in the pipeline for some new products.
Experiencing life during a world-wide pandemic, as well as through the hard work carried out by the YFCU, Hannah was able to see first-hand the need that exists to break down the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly for men.
“I wanted to raise awareness about the help that is available and, with people wearing the sweatshirts, it can start a conversation around it,” Hannah explained. “I went from being a very busy young farmer, out six evenings a week at meetings and other events, to nothing.
“I had my family for support at home, but others living in rural, more isolated areas didn’t have that. I want to encourage people to reach out and make them aware of the help that is available to them.”
At the moment, there is a variety of fantastic sweatshirts to choose from on the website, which have proved a huge success so far!
There are three colour options, with a trio of different designs being offered to customers, including ‘You Matter’ and ‘Support The Farmer’.
“I never expected it to go so well,” Hannah admitted.
“It launched in the last week of September and I had set myself monthly targets.
“By the end of the first week, I had completely smashed those targets thanks to all the support I received.”
For the caring young farmer, it has been a “work in progress” since around April or May of this year, with Hannah biding her time to offer the jumpers for sale when the seasons suited. In the run-up to Christmas, she is planning on releasing two exciting new designs which will be available to purchase on the website - https://matter-clothing-with-a-purpose.myshopify.com/
You can also keep up-to-date with Matter on Facebook by searching for ‘Matter – A Brand With A Purpose’, or on Instagram @youmatterclothing_co