CSO: 25 farmers committed suicide in 2019

Mental health issues in rural Ireland are coming under increasing scrutiny, with the farming community particularly at risk of rural isolation and depression.

n average, 25 farmers die each year by suicide, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to the Independent of agriculture. Mental health in rural areas has become a matter of particular concern, particularly following a number of high profile murder/suicide cases in the country last year.

While the CSO’s latest figures only date back to 2019, there has already been considerable concern in some areas this year, with Cork County Council recently being made aware of several farmer suicides in local communities.

The news is likely to shock many people living in rural Ireland, but the suicide rate among farmers has fallen over the years, from a peak of 34 cases in 2014 to 25 cases in 2019, and a rise in Ever-growing awareness of depression and mental health issues in communities is supported by charities such as Make a Moove and Embrace Farm.

However, farmers are still a vulnerable group in society, with an earlier report from the Men’s Health Forum highlighting the stigma felt by many male farmers who open up about their feelings of depression.

The most recent report from the National Self-Harm Registry also highlighted that in hospitals considered to be in rural areas, such as Bantry and Ennis, cases of self-harm have nearly doubled.

Men were more likely than women to need treatment for alcohol abuse and self-harm.

“Men who self-harmed required more intensive treatment than women,” the report said. “Respectively, in 2019, 22% of men received sutures and 3% were referred for plastic surgery, compared to 18% and 1% of women.”

Although the report is from 2019, many will worry that the pandemic has exacerbated problems accessing mental health services, especially in rural areas.

If you have been affected by this story, the Samaritans is a free helpline. Call 116 123 free of charge or visit samaritans.org.

About Keneth T. Graves

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