The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) is set to launch its new mental health and well-being initiative at this year's Ploughing.

ICSA Life Focus, aims to help families experiencing mental health and stress-related issues according to chair Mona O’ Donoghue Concannon.

The group can be called upon to listen from a perspective of lived experience on farmers' issues including farm succession or failed succession, marriage breakdown, parent alienation, family disputes, mental health, rural isolation, farm finances, banking issues, and more. Together the group have experienced the full raft of problems and issues that can arise over the course of a farming life

“A lot of farmers are struggling massively with a whole range of issues that are having a big impact on their mental health and well-being. "Too many farmers are finding it too difficult to cope, so as a group we want to get the message out to farmers that difficult life situations do not have to be faced alone, and if you need help, to reach out," O'Donoghue Concannon said.

Panel discussions

To mark the launch ICSA will be hosting daily panel discussions at the ICSA stand which is located at block 3, row 19, stand 317.

Tuesday 19 September

Land and family law - the good, bad and unspoken at 12.30pm with:

  • Agricultural solicitor Aisling Meehan
  • Mick Larkin from the Land Mobility Service
  • Sergeant Edel Burke from An Garda Síochána Community Policing
  • Wednesday 20 September

    The Agri-Politics of Mental Health at 11am with panellists:

  • Claire Kerrane TD: Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture
  • Senator Paul Daly: Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson for Agriculture
  • Cllr. Frank Roche: Cork County Council
  • Finola Colgan: Mental Health Ireland
  • Thursday 21 September

    Building farmer health and well-being at 11am with panellists:

  • Senator Tim Lombard: Fine Gael Spokesperson on Agriculture
  • Sean Glynn from Kinvara Alive
  • Sandra Malone from DCU FarmHealth
  • Members of the Life Focus group will also be on hand throughout the three days for anyone looking to connect.