Calls to a suicide prevention helpline for farmers have soared by more than 300 per cent in six months, according to Console.

Rural isolation and money worries are said to be the reasons why more than 5,000 people contacted Console’s Farm and Rural Stress Line from March to September. In the previous six months, the number was 1,316.

Spokesman Paul Kelly outlined a number of factors that are affecting farmers. “Often callers to the helpline are in great emotional pain and many are on the brink of ending their own lives. Money worries coupled with rural isolation and a great sense of loneliness are the main problems.

The fodder crisis in March and April saw calls to the helpline rise dramatically from 347 in February to 876 in April with the situation putting a huge strain on marriages and relationships.

“Farmers struggled, and in many cases failed, to get the support of their banks. That stress was combined with a sense that farmers are isolated from the community, many feeling unable to cope. Rural communities have changed dramatically. A lack of public transport and little access to public services has served to increase isolation.

“We often find that callers living in remote areas have heightened anxiety about their own personal safety. Farmers are naturally private people, they tend not to talk about their problems but to suffer in silence. It takes great courage for such people to pick up the phone and call our helpline.

“We provide professionally trained, highly-qualified and accredited counsellors. We want to get the message out that this is not just a listening service. The Farm and Rural Stress Helpline can really help.”

Console offers counselling services and 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide on Freephone 1800 201 890. Full-time counselling centres are in counties Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Wexford, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Kildare.

If you are in a tough situation and need to talk to someone about it, try here:

  • Samaritans 1850 60 90 90 or email [email protected]
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Console’s Farm and Rural Stress helpline 1800 742 645
  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email [email protected]

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