Call for a stress helpline to be put in place

Macra National President, James Healy
Macra National President, James Healy

A 24/7 HELPLINE service for farmers who feel under stress for a variety of reasons has been called for by Macra na Feirme in their Pre-Budget Submission to Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe.

The young farmers organisation have said in their submission that such a helpline service would cost €1.2 million to implement but would help to fill ‘an extraordinary need’ in relation to farmer healty, safety and wellbeing issues.

The Farmer Assistance Programme, according to Macra, would provide farmers with practical help and emotional support to enable them take pro-active measures in times of crisis.

Macra envisage that such an assistance-helpline programme would cover the full spectrum of wellbeing issues including stress management; work/life balance; wellness; conflict resolution and financial planning.

“It is envisaged that the programme would have various avenues available for farmers to engage with the service, including helplines and one-to-one discussions to assist them in dealing with challenges they may be facing,” Macra state.

According to Macra National President, James Healy, since last year’s Budget Day, farmers have endured one of their toughest ever years in terms of weather with extremes of rain, cold, heat and drought conditions.

This has led to huge input costs for farmers trying to cope with animal feed needs adding greatly to stress levels felt by the farming community right across the country, said James Healy.

“The Government needs to show its commitment to young farmers by addressing the immediate issue of high stress levels and long-term funding issues.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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