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New campaign aims to curb suicides amongst farmers

The campaign is being launched by Pieta House as part of its Mind Our Men initiative.

Image: Candle lighting in hands via Shutterstock

A NEW CAMPAIGN has been launched by Pieta House to try and curb the amount of suicides in rural areas.

This is the second phase of the Mind Our Men initiative, which began in March and is aimed at reducing the level of male suicides in Ireland. Eight out of every 10 people who take their own lives in Ireland are male.

Intervention

Launching the campaign today was Joan Freeman, founder and CEO of Pieta House, and TD Helen McEntee, daughter of the late Minister of State Shane McEntee.

Pieta House’s Rural Suicide Intervention Initiative sees it teaming up with the Irish Farmers’ Association, the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc.

They aim to educate half a million men and women in rural areas and farming communities in Ireland in how to ‘spot the signs and save a life’.

Pieta House will provide information booklets and training to various organisations to equip members with the knowledge of how to recognise the signs and symptoms of suicidal behaviour and what to do if a loved one is in crisis.

Increasing numbers of suicides linked to rural isolation and farming difficulties spurred Freeman to target rural areas in this phase of the Mind Our Men campaign.

“There are so many factors that can cause huge stress for farmers and people living in rural Ireland,” said Joan Freeman.

Isolation, loneliness, crop failure, lack of fodder and loss of animals can cause terrible distress which is leading to a rising suicide rate in rural areas. We hope that by reaching out to these areas, by teaching family and friends how to look out for their loved ones, and by making them more aware of services such as Pieta House, we will help them realise that there is support out there and that they can get through these tough times.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Freeman said that she is feeling “really positive” about the campaign, and that every single farming family will get a booklet telling them what the signs are.

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She said that the campaign is not so much aimed at people in distress, but the people who live with them, their family, friends and colleagues.

They are the “living link” between the person who could be in distress and Pieta House.

“I keep saying farming is a very noble profession but also a very lonely one,” said Freeman.

We’re hoping the whole of Ireland will know about the signs and symptoms of suicide.

Pieta House now has centres in Lucan, Ballyfermot, Finglas, Tallaght, Roscrea and Limerick. Three more centres are due to open in Cork, Castleisland and Tuam before the end of the year.

Read: Pieta House launches ‘Mind Our Men’ to reduce male suicide>

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