Farm Ireland

Friday 26 April 2019

Samaritans: 'Anecdotally, we know farmers have contacted us over the Fodder Crisis'

Incidence of occupational stress is on the rise again
Incidence of occupational stress is on the rise again
Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

One in three people who contact the Samaritans for support are struggling with loneliness or feelings of isolation, new research from the charity reveals.

Samaritans Ireland reports that more than 65,000 calls to its helpline dealt with the issue and it is particularly acute among people in rural areas and farmers.

Its research is being launched on the opening day of the National Ploughing Championships as Samaritans volunteers will be on site in Screggan, Co Offaly.

Cindy O’Shea, lead volunteer and regional director for Ireland, said it is important for people in rural Ireland to realise they can pick up the phone day or night and hear a caring voice.

“Loneliness, isolation, stress and depression are among the issues which affect rural communities and farmers,” she said.

“This year the fodder crisis and the long-term effects of the adverse weather conditions, from our spring snow to the summer drought, have had a greater impact on the lives and livelihoods of many people.

“Anecdotally, we know that this particular issue has prompted farmers to contact us.

“We are always encouraging farmers to seek out support if they find the pressure becomes too much.”

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IFA Farm Family Chair, Caroline Farrell, said the challenges for farmers this year have been unprecedented, particularly due to the extreme weather events which added significantly to their workload and costs.

She said: “We are always encouraging farmers to seek out support if they find the pressure becomes too much. The work done by the Samaritans is invaluable in providing time for farmers to talk to somebody about what is troubling them.  Their service is an important resource for those farmers who may be isolated and who don’t have back up."

Samaritans also delivers talks and training to clubs, associations and schools to raise awareness of its service and encourage people to talk to us and listen to each other.

Liz Chaloner, Interim Executive Director with Samaritans Ireland said: “We want people to know that Samaritans are here around the clock for anyone in need and that they don’t need to be suicidal to call us. So many people who reach out are lonely, depressed, stressed, anxious or have suffered a relationship, financial or job loss.

“Talking can be the best way of getting through a difficult time. If you feel like you are not coping or that you are alone with your difficult thoughts and feelings, it is important to get help.

Volunteers will be present at the Samaritans Ireland stand in the Health and Wellness exhibition arena this week. The Samaritans can also be contacted on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090 or email

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