Farmers in Roscommon are being invited to sign up for a free health and wellbeing programme aimed at providing them with the tools to live and work productively and safely.
The new six-week programme, developed for FarmConnect, is being rolled out in the county from this week in the hope that will become a national initiative.
The programme, which will be delivered through six two-hour group sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays in Rathcroghan and Keadue, commenced on Monday evening.
FarmConnect is a European Innovation Partnership project, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine and the EU’s Rural Development Programme.
Speaking at the official launch of the programme last September, Minister of State Martin Heydon said: “There is an inextricable link between the physical and mental wellbeing of farmers and farm safety.
“If a farmer feels run down or has a distracted mind, then their full focus cannot be on the task at hand. This can lead to near-misses, and the more near-misses there are the greater the chance of a fatal or life-changing incident”.
Ahead of the launch of the pilot scheme in Roscommon, Programme Coordinator Clare Thoma said that small, practical, and positive changes that improve a farmer’s personal wellbeing also have positive outcomes for farm safety and productivity.
“Scientific and academic studies have highlighted serious concerns about Irish farmer ill-health and occupational injury. Recent research shows that Irish farmers are seven times more likely to die from heart disease than salaried workers. This is just one example of how farmers’ health can be adversely affected by their way of life,” she said.
The programme will run until February 21st in Roscommon, taking place at the old schoolhouse in Rathcroghan on Monday evenings and in St. Ronan’s Hall, Keadue on Tuesday nights from 8 to 10 pm.