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Farming Minds Project

The Farming Minds proposal is a collaboration between Agricultural Science and Psychology at University College Dublin ‘UCD Agri Mental Health Group’ interdisciplinary team, South East Technical University and HSE funded ‘On Feirm Ground’ farmer health training programme in order to promote farmer health.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, UCD Farm Mental Health Working Group and South East Technological University are hiring, with 3 exciting positions open to work on this project. 

  • Post Doc Researcher 48 months UCD
  • Post Doc Researcher 24 months SETU
  • Research Assistant 48 months (0.3 FTE) UCD

Full job descriptions can be found below and interested candidates can apply directly through the (opens in a new window)UCD and (opens in a new window)SETU HR Websites. 

The Farming Minds project has a dedicated team of Prof Louise McHugh, UCD School of Psychology, DrTomásRussell, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Dr Deirdre O'Connor, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Ms Anne Markey, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and Dr Noel Richardson, National Centre for Men's Health, SETU. This team aims to develop and test the feasibility and effectiveness of a scalable psychological intervention for farmers to target the key areas (i.e., mental health, stress, resilience) in terms of prevention and early intervention. In collaboration with and building on the existing framework of On Feirm Ground with farmer health, we aim to develop evidence-based interventions that go beyond signposting to support the development of key psychological skills.

Recent research by the team at UCD revealed that 23.4% of farmers were considered at risk for suicide. Over half of the farmers are currently experiencing moderate to extremely severe depression. Almost 40% were experiencing moderate to extremely severe anxiety and stress. Farm stress is associated with higher suicidal ideation and higher distress.

Farmers identified (i) government policies designed to reduce climate change, (ii) outsiders not understanding farming, and (iii) concern over the future of the farm as the key stressors. Psychological skills were associated with lesser suicidal ideation and lesser distress. The findings highlighted the importance of mental health initiatives and suicide awareness for the farming community and that farmers prefer experiential, group-based interventions delivered by experts in psychology who are also familiar with the nature of farming. The best way to address these challenges is to develop interventions to support farmers with skills that build resilience to help them cope with farm stress and uncertainty. Experts in mental health also need to be involved in the development and delivery of these interventions. Tailored culturally sensitive interventions to support farmers' mental health are necessary. 

UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science

Agriculture and Food Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7205 | Location Map(opens in a new window)