Insight Wellbeing: Putting farmers’ mental health in the spotlight

Submitted on Friday, 18/11/2022

‘Mental Health Help-Seeking in Irish Farmers’ is a project led by Dr Siobhan O’Connor and Asst Professor Anna Donnla O’Hagan from the School of Health & Human Performance in DCU. It aims to improve the Irish farming community’s mental health literacy and intentions to seek help when experiencing mental health issues. This research is funded by the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The research is three-fold in its approach.

Firstly, it aims to identify the prevalence of mental health issues (anxiety, depression, alcohol misuse) and associated factors (burnout, sleep issues) in Irish farmers through a nation-wide in-depth survey. Secondly, the project aims aims to investigate the barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking among farmers through focus groups with farmers and key stakeholder representatives.

Finally, the research will develop and deliver a bespoke, evidence-based mental health education programme to improve Irish farmers’ knowledge of mental health issues and help-seeking from the information gained in the previous research. To maximise the direct impact of this intervention the farmers voice will be central at all stages of this research.