Survey reveals farmers need to talk

Almost 1 in 3 members (28%) of the farming community don’t tell anyone about their personal problems and difficulties, according to a recent study commissioned by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

Almost 1 in 3 members (28%) of the farming community don’t tell anyone about their personal problems and difficulties, according to a recent study commissioned by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

The results of this survey come as the IACP announce their participation at the National Ploughing Championships for the second year running. This year’s championships will be held in Heathpark, New Ross, Co. Wexford from 25th to 27th September.

Dr Harry Barry, a GP from Drogheda, County Louth, spoke about the IACP findings. “Bottling up personal problems can lead to physical and mental ill health, especially where people live in more isolated communities. I would urge everyone to discuss their problems with a friend or family member, or their GP. Treatments don’t have to involve medication. Often just talking about a problem or anxiety can ease the burden. And therapies such as counselling and psychotherapy can often be very beneficial,” he said.

The survey also showed that 86% of farmers have never attended a Counsellor or Psychotherapist. Additionally, one-in-five members of the farming community would feel embarrassed if people knew they were attending a counsellor or psychotherapist.

Since its inception, the Ploughing Championships have become a very important aspect of Irish rural life and many members of the farming community travel to the agricultural show year after year. IACP volunteers will be exhibiting at this year’s championships to encourage and advise members of the farming community to reach out if they are experiencing personal problems. The IACP believe that farmers’ general perception of counselling and psychotherapy can be changed.

Naoise Kelly, National Director of the IACP, asks members of the farming community not to bottle up any problems they may have and to consider the benefits that come from therapy.

“Life in some rural areas can be lonely. But if you’re feeling low or experiencing difficulties in your life, it’s important to know that there is help out there. Talk to someone - your GP, or a friend or family member, or professional counsellor / psychotherapist. Counselling or psychotherapy can be very beneficial in helping people to deal with issues such as stress or anxiety. The IACP has more than 3,500 counsellors and psychotherapists across every county of Ireland so there is help available in your area. It is important to make sure the counsellor or psychotherapist you choose is qualified and accredited,” he said.

For a directory of IACP-accredited and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists across every county in Ireland visit www.iacp.ie, or phone 01-2723427.