Mindfulness is something that should be explored more as a method of combating potential mental health difficulties, according to Macra na Feirme’s Rural Youth Committee chairperson Cara O’Mahony.
“It could be introduced as part of the SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education) curriculum or as a separate subject at primary and secondary school to build resilience in children which will help them deal with the pressures of life further down the road,” Ms O’Mahony said.
Her comments followed a meeting organised by Wexford Fianna Fáil TD James Browne to discuss rural isolation and mental health.
At the meeting, Macra national president Seán Finan asked the Government to “provide and invest more in community supports and provide greater access to care for those in difficulty”.
He added: “People in difficulty are less likely to avail of professional help if it’s not readily available to them within close proximity to where they live.”
Patrick Hipwell, a dairy farmer from Wexford, spoke about the difficulties farmers have encountered with isolation in recent years.
“In the past the creamery who collects my milk would do so during the day and you would be able to chat to the driver, but now in some cases that collection is being done at night so you might not see anyone from one end of the day to the next,” he said.
Mr Finan added: “Macra na Feirme has continuously highlighted the issue of rural isolation and mental health. We recently launched our Know your Neighbour initiative in partnership with Calor.
"Its purpose is to encourage people to come together and organise an event to get to know your neighbours better and combat isolation and there are dozens of events taking place around Ireland over the summer.
“I would encourage everyone to go to their local Know Your Neighbour event.”
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