Irish farmers rarely discuss personal problems like stress or depression, a new major study has found.

The research was carried out by Behaviours and Attitude on behalf of the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

It showed that one-quarter (25%) of respondents from the farming community said that they would have difficulty discussing their personal problems.

This is considerably higher than the number of respondents in urban areas who said that they would have difficulties discussing their personal problems, which is at just 14%, the survey found.

The IACP’s spokesman, Shane Kelly, said that the IACP is particularly concerned about these results because they come at a time when more and more adults are experiencing stress in Ireland.

58% of respondents said that they are under stress now compared to 47% of respondents back in 2013.

Kelly also expressed concern that farmers belonged to the 7% of respondents who said that they had no one to discuss their problems with.

The IACP also found that the farming community was the group that was least likely to talk to a friend about stress or depression, with just 31% saying that they had ever done so.

By contrast, the national average was 49%, the survey showed.

To overcome this problem, Kelly said that family and friends in the farming community needed to look out for one another.

He said that this was especially important because the IACP survey had found that just 7% of respondents from the farming community said that they would speak to a doctor.

Just 5% said they would speak to a counsellor or psychotherapist about their personal problems, the survey found; this compared to the national average of 21% and 13% respectively.

“The study clearly shows that there is a greater need in the farming community for friends, relatives and neighbours to talk to each other,” Kelly.

The IACP is the largest professional organisation for counselling and psychotherapy in Ireland, with almost 4,000 members nationwide.

It is hosting a stand at the National Ploughing Championships at Ratheniska, Co. Laois between September 22 and 24.