Last year was the inaugural year for AgMentalHealthWeek, a global mental health awareness campaign with an aim to help reduce stigma around suicide and mental health while highlighting the importance of prioritising mental wellbeing in the agricultural sector. Founded by Cork dairy farmers Peter and Paula Hynes, the awareness campaign is now spearheaded by a global working group of likeminded people.
AgMentalHealthWeek 2021 will begin on the 10th October in conjunction with World Mental Health Day and will run for seven consecutive days finishing on the 16th October. The campaign will feature daily wellbeing tips and panel discussions. There are also plans to support charities and support services that have other wellbeing events planned for the week.
This year the panel discussions streamed live on Facebook @AgMentalHealthWeek, will feature specific discussions focusing on young farmers.
- There will be a panel discussion with Minister Martin Heydon from Ireland and Minister Bloyce Thompson from Canada as guest speakers.
- The GPs / Doctors panel discussion will feature Dr Rachel Ward from BBC Breakfast, while the Veterinary Surgeons panel discussion will be chaired by RCVS CEO, Lizzie Locket with a global guest panel of veterinary surgeons discussing the challenges they face.
- The final panel discussion will feature family members who have lost loved ones to suicide or struggled with their mental health, and will focus in on how they have been impacted as a family.
With the need to prioritise mental wellbeing, AgMentalHealthWeek will be promoting #MileForMentalWellbeing on the 13th October asking as many farmers as possible, veterinary surgeons, agricultural colleges, and all those connected to the Agri sector, to go out and walk or run one mile to highlight the importance of getting outside, taking a break and making space to clear our minds. It is hoped that as many participants as possible will post a photo on social media and use the hashtag: #MileForMentalWellbeing.
Charities and support services are encouraged to plan events for the week. Agricultural colleges can encourage students to do something positive during the week or host a fundraiser for their local support services.
AgMentalHealthWeek would like to acknowledge the fantastic backup support from Alltech, Zurich Farm Insurance, Z Zurich Foundation, Semex Global Alliance and Expert Webinars.