A WEST Cork family is pushing for the Government to fund more services to protect the mental health of the farming community, as Ag Mental Health Week continues.
Last year was the inaugural year for the initiative, which was founded by Cork dairy farmers Peter and Paula Hynes. The awareness campaign has since been spearheaded globally to try to reduce the stigma around suicide and mental health in the agricultural sector.
It’s an initiative supported by many locals, including Thomas McCarthy of Ballinadee, who lost his father last year to suicide.
“It’s such a great idea and it’s badly needed because the amount of suicides in rural Ireland has skyrocketed,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Covid really hit the farming community hard.
"People who were already isolated might not have anyone, their routines were wrecked.
"The Government needs to do something about it. There is clearly a problem.”
Over the past year, the McCarthy family has been trying to push for more mental health services for the farming community, writing to politicians and appearing on various television and radio shows.
“Pieta House’s special helpline for farmers is great, as is Samaritans, but there really is nothing else out there.
I’m going to keep pushing, even when politicians don’t reply, because in my village alone there have been six suicides in recent years, most of them farming men,” Mr McCarthy said. “And it’s happening everywhere.
"Everyone talks about the numbers of people dying from Covid, but no one is talking about the people who are killing themselves because of Covid. It’s so frustrating.”
The McCarthy family raised over €33k for Pieta House last year by setting up a GoFundMe campaign following the loss of their beloved father, Paddy. The organisation’s Mind Our Farm Families helpline is a service they wish to highlight for anyone struggling.
Freephone Mind Our Farm Families on 1890 130 022.