The Donard Methodist Church in Newcastle Co. Down will hold a Farmers’ Wellbeing Workshop on Saturday, April 20 from 10:00a.m until 3:00p.m.

The workshop came about as “recent legislation and events have had a severe impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of farmers”, Lyndon Hull said.

The workshop is being held at the 36-37 Central Promenade Newcastle.

Various speakers and organisations are due to speak at the event, including:

  • Rural Support Team;
  • Ulster Farmers’ Union;
  • Rev. K. Hanna, rural chaplain;
  • Gurteen College (video presentation);
  • DOWN to Zero (local mental health charity).

The Health Check Team will be available on the day of the Farmers’ Wellbeing Workshop for appointments.

Tea/coffee and scones will be given out on arrival, and lunch will be provided.

Ulster Farmers’ Union

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) which will be one of the guest speakers at the Farmers’ Wellbeing Workshop, stated that the current conditions are taking a “financial and mental health toll” on farmers.

UFU president and Fermanagh farmer, David Brown said that the challenges being faced are “unprecedented” and that this weather is threatening domestic food production.

“Our greatest concern, however, is around the mental toll this is taking on farmers. We would urge all farmers to at least make sure they speak to their neighbours and other farmers,” Brown said.

In a bid to support farmers, the UFU has raised concerns with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs of Northern Ireland (DAERA) minister, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), politicians, and the banks, urging them to seek solutions and to be aware of the pressure farmers are under. 

The UK farming unions have also had meetings to see what action can be taken at a national level.

The UFU president added that the issue of mental health among farmers is becoming a crisis for the industry, but it needs to be prevented from becoming a mental health crisis for farming families.