ALMOST HALF OF people living in rural areas say they would conceal a mental health difficulty, according to new research released by See Change.
The 5th annual Green Ribbon campaign run by See Change is running all month and encourages people to speak out about their mental health.
The organisation found that 42% of people living in rural areas say they would conceal a mental health difficulty from family, friends or colleagues. This figure is 4% higher than the national average of 38%.
A total of 372 respondents from rural Ireland and a smaller sample of 51 farmers were surveyed as part of the nationally representative survey of 977 people, conducted by Kantar Millward Brown on behalf of See Change funded by HSE NOSP.
Overall, 38% of the 977 people surveyed said they would conceal a mental health illness.
While four in 10 people said they would conceal a mental health illness, 84% of people living in rural areas said they would seek help from a professional if they had mental health issues. This is 3% higher than the national average of 81%.
The farming community are more likely to conceal a mental health illness. 45% of farmers said they would conceal their condition and 19% of them said they would also delay seeking treatment for a mental health problem for fear of letting others know about it.
Half of farmers and the wider rural community said they were willing to live with someone with a mental health difficulty, compared to the national average of 55%.
However, 73% of farmers surveyed said they would be willing to work with someone who had a mental health problem.
People in Dublin are the least likely to want to work with someone who has a mental health difficulty. Only 58% of respondents in Dublin said they would be willing to. This figure is 8% lower than the average for the rest of Ireland, which came in at 66%.
Meanwhile, 82% of farmers and 78% of rural dwellers said they would be willing to live near someone with a mental health problem.
John Saunders, CEO of See Change, said: “From this research we are seeing stigma is alive and well in rural Ireland. Unfortunately, stigma is one of the main reasons people living with mental ill health do not seek help.”
“We are seeing signs that there is a lot of compassion among the farming and rural community in Ireland for people with mental health difficulties, but people still feel they need to conceal that they are going through a tough time.”
“It is very likely that you or someone you know will experience mental health problems at some point. Mental health issues are part and parcel of everyday life, so they need to be part of everyday conversation,” Saunders said.
“Remember you don’t need to be an expert or have all the answers to talk about mental health. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is let someone know you are there for them.”
More information about events taking place across the country this month for the Green Ribbon campaign can be found here.
If you need to talk, contact:
- Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email email@example.com (suicide, self-harm)
- Samaritans 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
- Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
- Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
You can find out more about See Change at www.seechange.ie.