Suicide risk among farmers an urgent issue warn agencies
The suicide risk among farmers because of economic pressures and stresses needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, a charity has warned.
Paul Kelly, from the Console charity, said they had received over 6,000 calls to its helpline from farmers last year.
His comments come following a minute's silence at the EU Agriculture Committee meeting last week to mark the number of farmers who have taken their own lives amid the difficulties in the agriculture markets.
"Some of the stories we hear are heart breaking and they are coming from people who will take care of their animals better than themselves," said Mr Kelly.
"Farmers by their nature are private individuals.
"They see it as a weakness to seek help."
Mr Kelly, who urged those in need to help to call Console's 24-hour helpline at 1800-742645, said a lack of mental health services in rural areas was a "factor".
The IFA's family and social affairs chair, Maura Canning, said a large percentage of the nearly 400 suicides recorded in Ireland last year occurred in rural areas.