Concerns with the slurry deadline, financial problems and the increased prices of fodder and animal feed are creating high-levels of stress in Northern Irish farmers, according to a charity.
Local charity Rural Support has issued advice to Northern Ireland’s farming community ahead of Stress Awareness Day on Wednesday (1 November) in a bid to alleviate stress.
Recent research from the charity revealed that the majority of farmers who were experiencing financial difficulties displayed dangerous levels of stress which is adversely affecting their mental health.
There have also been concerns recently regarding the pressure farmers were being put under to make the slurry deadline in October, given the recent adverse weather conditions in Northern Ireland.
The recent wet weather has made it "nearly impossible" to spread slurry safely on many farms across Northern Ireland and farmers are concerned as the closed period deadline has passed.
Rural Support has also recognised the additional financial stress created by the increase in the price of fodder and animal feed.
Following the research findings and in light of the current challenges in the agricultural community, Rural Support is urging farmers to look after their mind.
'Long hours and stress'
The charity stated that help is available through the charity’s services such as its confidential helpline and on-farm business support.
Rural Support Chief Executive, Jude McCann commented: “Farm life involves long hours and can be very stressful. Dealing with current issues, such as the slurry deadline or increasing price of fodder and animal feed, while planning for the future can lead to high levels of stress, negatively impacting on mental and physical health.
“Our Stress Awareness Day message is to keep your body and mind in good health and to watch out for the signs of stress that include trouble with sleeping, irritability, frequent colds and feeling like you are at the end of your tether. If you see or feel these signs, our advice is to take notice and take action - help is available..”
National Stress Awareness Day takes place on Wednesday 1st November and aims to highlight the issue of stress, its impact on mental health and ways to manage it effectively.
Since 2002, Rural Support has been helping farming and rural families across Northern Ireland on a wide range of issues from finance and debt issues, succession planning concerns, physical and mental health issues, farming paperwork, technical and enterprise issues.
Rural Support’s helpline number is 0845 606 7 607. The charity can help with issues that are stressful or upsetting.