You might think you know what’s going on but you probably don’t
No matter what you think you know, you really don’t know what is going on in someone else’s life. Sometimes the best thing to do is bite your lip for everyone’s mental health. Writes Amii McKeever

I now associate zero grazing with mental health. A few weeks back I was discussing the pros and cons of this practice with a friend. While surrounded by dairy farms, I was trying to think had any of my neighbours moved to the system. My friend said it was more common that I would think and perhaps it was just escaping “under the radar”.

The following Saturday, I was driving Dia (small daughter) to piano lessons in Carrick-on-Suir. As we drove out of Grangemocker, we got stuck behind, you guessed it, a zero grazing machine. I made an attempt to overtake but I could not risk it with the traffic volume. And now I also wanted to see who was driving it.

Frustrated with my efforts, he passed me. My blood ran cold as I saw an artic rumbling towards us

However, behind me was a silver people carrier and he was not for waiting. Frustrated with my efforts, he passed me. My blood ran cold as I saw an artic rumbling towards us. The tractor lunged into the hard shoulder, the truck did the same. The people carrier slipped through the gap. Moments later, the road opened up and I passed it by, with all thoughts of the driver forgotten.

We drove on, down into the bad bends of Glenbower. And what did we meet but another zero grazing machine – you couldn’t make this up. Behind him, the silver people carrier. He was desperate to pass and I started to think: “What is going on with this man that he simply can’t wait?” Had he a pregnant partner or an injured child that required medical attention in the car?

Social media can provide a wonderful support to people but it can also be an abusive cesspit for others

We can all jump to anger initially but, most of the time, we have no clue what is happening in other people’s lives. My anger turned to concern as I contemplated this.

It was world mental health day last Saturday, an easy one to remember 10-10-20. Social media can provide a wonderful support to people but it can also be an abusive cesspit for others. In our cover feature this week, Maria Moynihan spoke with four women who use social media (in this case Instagram) to tell their own positive stories of farming. Those ladies are strong social media voices – The Insta generation.

Katherine O’Leary through her weekly column has been a strong voice for the important roles women play on their farms over many years. With no break in her writing, many of you will be taken aback to read about her health scare. We wish Katherine all the very best. Again, we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes in someone’s life.

All our entrants deserve recognition for the fantastic work they are doing farming, working and creating in rural Ireland

Speaking of strong advocates for farming, please join us in celebrating the announcement of the winners of our 2020 Women & Agriculture Awards, in association with FBD Insurance, next Wednesday 21 October (online) at 7pm. All our entrants deserve recognition for the fantastic work they are doing farming, working and creating in rural Ireland.

This week, if you can, pick up the phone and call someone just to see how they are. It will be good for your mental health and theirs. That first comment “under the radar” can be applied to mental health and for many people, it is just that, an unnoticed cross they carry. In my story about the zero grazing machine, Dia and I turned left for Carrick and the people carrier powered on towards Clonmel. I hope that the problem that was driving that driver found a solution at the destination.

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