Rural men’s mental health through the Covid-19 pandemic: a snap-shot

The Civic Engagement Committee at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College have highlighted the growing problem of mental health difficulties for men in rural Ireland in a special TV programme for online broadcast, to mark International Men’s Day 2020.

Researchers from the Committee, working in partnership with Teagasc (The Agriculture and Food Development Authority), IT Carlow and Letterkenny IT have developed a three-part TV series called the 2020 ‘Tell Me About – A Pandemic Rural Health & Wellness Symposia Series’.

International studies have cited that rural isolation has always had a negative impact on the health and well-being of men living in rural communities. Researchers note that this is a matter which has become much more pronounced during Covid-19 because of the enforced isolation that comes with rolling lockdowns.

Paul Horan, Assistant Professor of Nursing & Chair of the Civic Engagement Committee and co-producer, creator and contributor said:

This series is a phenomenal collaborative ground-breaking project which aimed to communicate virtually with the rural community and wider society in Ireland and beyond about health & wellness in a way the overcomes the social restrictions of a global pandemic, operating within the public health regulations.

Conor Hammersley, PhD student at IT Carlow’s National Centre for Mental Health said:

There is a disproportionate burden of health problems in relation to mental health among farmers, who belong to an occupation with a higher than normal relationship with suicide.

The series was developed to respond to the health challenges faced by rural communities during the pandemic, as a type of virtual Covid-19 Health and Wellness informational magazine programme, which can be watched on electronic devices around the country. Each episode mirrors the notion of being ‘Trom agus Eadrom’ (Heavy and Light) and attempts to create a mix of scientific research, narrative contributor interviews as well as musical and poetic moments.

The episode was introduced by Martin Heydon, TD: Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety, and New Market Development. The episode also features well known journalist and publican Billy Keane and Professor Paul Horan who spoke about their own personal journeys living with and overcoming mental health issues.

The International Men’s Day 2020 episode of “Tell Me About – A Pandemic Rural Health & Wellness Symposia Series” can be watched on  the Teagasc YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TeagascMedia/videos

 

The “Tell Me About – A Pandemic Rural Health & Wellness Symposia Series” was filmed and produced at the media facilities at IT Carlow recently and complied fully with Covid-19 regulations.