Rogers Says Mental Wellbeing of Farming Community Cannot Fall Victim To Executive Silo Mentality
South Down MLA Seán Rogers has called on the Executive to make tangible strides toward addressing the mental wellbeing of the farming community in a robust, joined up manner.
Mr Rogers was speaking after an Assembly debate on the issue. He said: “Farming is one of the few native industries that we have left, it is crucial that we do all we can to protect and sustain it. Key to achieving that aim is supporting farmers, their families and rural dwellers more broadly from the strains of social isolation and poor mental health.
“The nature of farm work is often solitary, even more so now since the economic downturn as many small farmers have had to scale back their operation and take on more of the labour themselves. This has led to long, lonely days for many farmers and their families.
“It has long been accepted that agricultural work places significant physical strain on those involved but we must now accept and address the tremendous emotional and mental strain that our primary food producers feel. The ongoing economic pressure, bureaucratic hoops and extreme weather that they face on a daily basis is a recipe for immense stress.
“It is imperative that the Agriculture Minister demonstrates to the farming community that her department is genuinely listening to their concerns and will take action in a joined up manner with Executive colleagues. Great work is taking place through social initiatives in sports clubs across our rural communities but more needs to be done.
“We need joined up action from a range of Executive departments to tackle this growing problem. It cannot become another victim of the narrow silo mentality that has plagued our politics in the past.”