Major increase in calls made to Cork and Kerry stress helpline
A MASSIVE increase in the number of people using the HSE's Farm and Rural Stress Helpline for counties Cork and Kerry has been reported.
The service had just over 51 callers on average through the first 10 months of the year. However, this figure jumped to 75 and 100 for November and December respectively.
Brenda Crowley, mental health resource officer with HSE South, said that financial worries among farmers had contributed to the sharp rise in calls during the last two months of 2009.
"We have seen a significant change in the type of calls to the helpline of late," Ms Crowley said.
"Previously, many callers cited loneliness, isolation and depression as key factors. These calls are still coming in but some callers are now also expressing concerns about the financial issues in relation to farming.
"Stress and anxiety are huge factors as many farmers have large loans taken out and are having huge difficulties getting grants and entitlements.
"We would urge people who are feeling stressed or lonely to call our helpline and talk to someone in complete confidence," Ms Crowley added.
A recent audit of the helpline, which monitored and evaluated the service's delivery, found: