In this episode of Farm Matters the focus is on the important topic of mental health and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on rural life. Contributors to the podcast shared their own personal experiences and knowledge in this area, with host Mary Kennedy, these included: Jonathan Dwyer from Devilsbit Macra na Feirme in Tipperary, Founder of Make the Moove mental health workshops; Ian Power, CEO of SpunOut.ie; and Carmel Dawson, Public Relations Officer of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).
Ian Power discusses the impact of Covid-19 that has resulted in restrictions for young people, in particular a lack of social contact. Research carried out by SpunOut.ie shows that young people in rural Ireland are twice as likely to say that they feel isolated at this time when compared to those in urban areas. He also discusses the work of SpunOut.ie to support the mental health of young people during the pandemic, and his hopes for the future.
Jonathan Dwyer was alarmed by the high suicide rate in North Tipperary and Laois, and how this was affecting his own community. As a result, he started the Make the Moove mental
health workshops, which looks into the mental health pressures for young people in rural Ireland and the lessons they have learned from examining similar international examples.
Carmel Dawson discusses how the pandemic has disrupted people’s lives and the problems it has caused in the form of a lack of services and isolation in her hometown of Tullow in Co. Carlow. She also discusses how the ICA and its Federations have adapted to the restrictions.