Farming Poll 2016: One in five rural people have experience of depression

Almost one in five people in rural areas said they had experienced depression, whether directly or through a family member.

The Irish Examiner / ICMSA poll also found that 8% said they or an immediate family member had some experience regarding suicide.

Female respondents, at 23%, were more likely to say they had experience of depression than men, at 16%, while those aged between 35 and 44 was the group with the highest percentage of those who said they or a family member had experience of depression. Dairy farmers and those in other sectors of agriculture but not tillage and livestock also had the highest percentage of people saying they had experience of depression.

Regarding any type of connection with suicide, 14% of women said they had, versus 7% of men, while those in the 55 to 64 age group had the highest percentage of people who said they had some connection to suicide, at 11%.

The 8% who reported some connection with suicide contrasts sharply with the poll finding in 2014, when 16% of respondents said suicide had affected either their immediate or wider family, and 37% said it had affected the community.

The poll also found the 23% of respondents said they felt lonely or isolated, but 63% said they did not. A sense of isolation was most prevalent among those aged 55 to 64, at 33%, while 26% of those who worked exclusively on a farm felt lonely, compared with 19% of respondents who also had an off-farm job.

The poll also found that three-out-of-five farm dwellers believe the urban/rural divide is widening, but fewer people agree with this contention than two years ago.

61% believe the urban/rural divide is widening, down from 75% when asked in 2014. Over two-thirds of respondents with an off-farm income agreed with the contention, compared with 57% of those with no off-farm job.


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