Macra will deliver a pilot mental health programme to a cohort of students enrolled in agricultural colleges through its Make the Moove initiative over the coming weeks.

The young farmer group’s president John Keane stated that it was anticipated that around 150 students will receive training before the end of next month.

It is expected that the project will be expanded in scale after the pilot phase and will cater for older age groups involved in the farming sector.

Among the young farmer issues that the mental health training will seek to address will be farm succession, money pressures and social media worries.

Identified issues

“This training programme has been developed in conjunction with Mental Health Ireland and informed by the issues identified by young rural people as affecting their mental wellbeing,” the Macra president added.

“The issues identified included financial pressures, succession on farm, social media and also the negative perception of farming in the general public.

"We hope to deliver this pilot training programme to around 150 students over three separate sessions before the end of November.

“We have also planned over the next number of months to expand the programme, to develop specific training programmes for older age groups working in and supporting agriculture."

Mental health

Speaking on Monday, Macra’s president stated that mental health issues should be discussed openly in rural areas and on farms.

“As today is world mental health day, it is important that this topic is highlighted and spoken about in rural communities across the country,” he said.

“We all have a role to play in breaking down the stigma and addressing the challenges that face us all.”

The project received funding from Mental Health Ireland and will be facilitated by Teagasc.