Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne has called on the incoming Government to prioritise the creation of new supports to help address mental health issues in the farming community.
Deputy Browne made the comments during a recent Dáil debate, and pointed out that farmers are facing increased isolation due to the reduction of local services and advances in farm technology.
“Farmers are particularly vulnerable to mental health risk factors, and isolation plays a key role in this,” said Deputy Browne.
“The work that farmers do on a daily basis means that they are generally more isolated than other people in the community. This isolation is on the increase as a result of modern farming techniques and technologies as well as a reduction in local services. For example, the closure of post offices means that farmers have a reduced opportunity to interact with people in the community.
“An ICMSA survey found that 50% of all farmers have been directly affected by suicide and 16% have had a direct impact of suicide within their family. These figures clearly highlight how farmers are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues.
“The incoming Government must make it a top priority to tackle this problem. The Department of Agriculture should work alongside the Department of Health to introduce additional programmes to help promote positive mental health in the farming community.”