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Agri Mental Health Group

Agri Mental Health Group at UCD

Welcome to the Agri Mental Health Group at University College Dublin (UCD), where agricultural science and psychology intersect to cultivate evidence based practice in the area of mental health and well-being within the farming community. Comprising a dynamic team of dedicated agricultural scientists and psychologists, we are committed to addressing the unique mental health challenges faced by individuals in the agricultural sector.

About Us

Our interdisciplinary team brings together experts from the esteemed Schools of Agricultural Science and Psychology at UCD. With a deep-rooted understanding of the agricultural landscape and a wealth of knowledge in psychological well-being, we strive to bridge the gap between these two domains. By fostering collaboration and synergy between these fields, we aim to create comprehensive solutions that promote mental health within the agricultural community.


At the heart of our mission is the recognition that agriculture is not just a profession; it's a way of life. The challenges faced by farmers and individuals working in agriculture go beyond the fields and impact their overall well-being. Our mission is to:

  1. Raise Awareness: We are committed to shedding light on the mental health challenges prevalent in the agricultural sector. Through research, advocacy, and outreach programs, we aim to reduce stigma and increase understanding about the importance of mental well-being.
  2. Advance Research: Through rigorous scientific inquiry, we strive to unearth the specific stressors that impact mental health within the agricultural sector. Our research informs evidence-based interventions and policies that can lead to lasting change.
  3. Promote Resilience: Farming requires a remarkable degree of resilience. We empower individuals to develop psychological resilience by providing tools to navigate uncertainty, manage stress, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Collaboration and Impact

Collaboration is the cornerstone of our work. By fostering partnerships with agricultural organizations, government agencies, mental health advocates, and local communities, we create a network of support that transcends disciplinary boundaries. Our goal is to drive meaningful change that positively impacts the mental health of those who feed our nation and sustain our communities.

Join Us in Cultivating Change

Whether you're a farmer, an agricultural professional, a psychologist, or someone passionate about mental health, we invite you to join us on this journey.

Follow us on social media and stay tuned for our workshops, events, and initiatives as we work towards a healthier and happier agricultural community.

Member profiles

Professor Louise McHugh (co-director) is a professor of Psychology at University College Dublin. She is a world leading expert in Behavioural Science and Process Based Therapy. She has published over 100 papersand two books in the area. Most relevant to the Agri Mental Health research group is her research in the area of farmer mental health and suicide risk, the development of interventions for farmer mental health and message reframing work on climate change communication. Her work has been funded by national and international funding bodies. Professor McHugh is the Director of the UCD CBS lab and a founding member of the Agri Mental Health Group.

Dr. Martin O’Connor is a clinical psychologist working in Primary Care Psychology Services with people across the lifespan. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer / Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Psychology. Martin has completed the UCD School of Psychology PhD Research program and Doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. Martin’s research interests include evaluating the efficacy of psychological interventions and investigating their processes of change.

Dr. Alison Stapleton, School of Psychology.

Dr. Tomas Russell (co-director) is an assistant professor of Agricultural Extension and Innovation at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science. He is program director for the Masters of Agricultural Extension and Innovation. His research focuses on farmer behaviour change, farmer mental health, digital agriculture and farm succession and inheritance. 

Anne Markey, School of Agriculture and Food Science.

Dr. Deirdre O’Connor  is Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and a lecturer in Resource Economics in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. Her research and teaching interests include agricultural and rural policy analysis, with particular reference to the impact of EU policy on rural communities; social farming and green care in the Irish and European context and  food policy – especially the issue of food poverty in Ireland.  She was awarded a UCD Values in Action Award in 2020 for her work on raising awareness about Invisible Disabilities.

Dr. Sinead Flannery is an Assistant Professor in Behavioural Science in Agriculture at the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin. Most relevant to the Agri Mental Health Group is Sinéad’s research in the area of farm Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and farmer wellbeing. Sinéad has been involved in the development of OSH interventions for farmers, farm advisors, agricultural educators, and the wider farming community. Sinéad is particularly interested in understanding, promoting and encouraging positive behaviour change at farm level. Sinéad also coordinates a core Health, Welfare and Safety in Agriculture module for all School of Agriculture and Food Science undergraduate students at University College Dublin, which is a prerequisite for students’ Professional Work Experience program as part of their undergraduate degree.

Funded Projects
  • Dying to Farm: Developing a Suicide Prevention Intervention for Farmers in Ireland. Funded by the National Organisation for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).
  • Developing and testing the feasibility and effectiveness of a scalable mental health intervention for farmers in the Irish context. Funded by the FBD Trust. 
  • Dying to Farm Phase II. Funded by the National Organisation for Suicide Prevention (NOSP).
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UCD School of Psychology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.