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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Farmer mental health and well-being

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the efforts ongoing by his Department to address issues in relation to farmer mental health and wellbeing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

I thank the Deputy for this question on such an important topic.


This Government has prioritised farm safety, health and wellbeing. In 2022, dedicated funding of €2.25m was allocated for a range of initiatives including initiatives to support increased awareness of the importance of mental health among farmers.


My Department, along with the HSE and the Department of Health, has co-funded a farmers physical and mental health awareness programme called ‘On Feirm Ground’. This programme is providing training for agricultural advisors to engage with and signpost farmers to supports in relation to health and wellbeing. 


It is planned to deliver this programme to 800 farm advisors. Plans are also underway to expand this programme to other professionals coming in regular contact with farmers in 2023.  

Last year, my Department funded eight farm safety European Innovation Partnerships (EIP’s) projects to the value of €1.8m. Four of these projects are focused on mental health in the farming community. Additional funding has been made available to extend these projects into 2023.

Funding for research into farmer mental health has been provided for the FarmHealth Research Project – the DCU study examining farmers mental health literacy & help-seeking behaviour. Results from this study will inform the development of an educational mental health intervention for farmers.

The Department supports the work of the HSA’s Farm Safety Partnership and was recently involved in the publication of its booklet on “Farmers’ Health and Wellbeing – A Guide to Staying Healthy While Farming” which includes a section on coping with stress and minding your mental health.

Farm safety, health and wellbeing is a priority for me and my colleague, Minister of State Martin Heydon T.D. Dedicated funding has been increased to €2.5m in Budget 2023 which will allow existing initiatives to continue as well as develop new initiatives to build on my Department’s efforts to improve farm safety, health and wellbeing.

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