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Sharp increase in suicidal farmers calling helpline over financial troubles

Financial woes and the fodder shortage has left many farmers in an extremely difficult situation, says suicide prevention charity Console.

Image: Man standing on land via Sbutterstock

INCREASED STRESS HAS led to a massive jump in the number of farmers ringing a special rural helpline over the past six months.

Suicide prevention charity Console said calls to its farm and rural stress helpline increased by over 300 per cent as financial woes and the fodder shortage left many farmers in an extremely difficult situation.

The charity received more than 5,200 phone calls between March and September, compared to just over 1,300 in the previous six months.

“Often callers to the helpline are in great emotional pain and many are on the brink of ending their own lives,” said Console CEO Paul Kelly.

Kelly said that the biggest problems for callers are money worries, rural isolation, and loneliness.

He cited the fodder crisis earlier this year – when farmers began to run out of dried hay and feed for cattle because of the unexpectedly cold and wet winter – as being a major source of worry for many farmers which put a strain on marriages and relationships.

“Farmers are naturally private people, they tend not to talk about their problems but to suffer in silence,” said Kelly.

If you are in a tough situation and need to talk to someone about it, try here:

  • Samaritans 1850 60 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Console’s Farm and Rural Stress helpline 1800 742 645
  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie

Read: Payments under €125 million scheme for disadvantaged farmers start today >

Read: More than 81% of farmers support gun ownership rights >

Read: Survey finds 63 per cent of farmers agree with abortion legislation >

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