Study finds 40 per cent of Kerry farmers didn’t seek help for health issue

40 per cent of Kerry farmers who took part in research for IT Tralee had a health issue they didn’t seek help for.

The study of 170 farmers was conducted last year in four marts in the county.

It was part of a Masters by Research by student Chrystal O’Brien; the project was supervised by Sinead Flaherty and Tom Farrelly from IT Tralee.

The study sought to understand the health beliefs, attitudes and practices of male farmers in rural Kerry.

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45 per cent said they were in good health and were physically fit; the majority believed they got enough exercise on farm and few took part in exercise off farm.

40 per cent had health issues they didn’t seek help for due to ignoring symptoms, a fear of diagnosis or they didn’t believe it was serious.

A third of those surveyed didn’t have a successor for their farm selected and student Chrystal O’Brien said stress was a major issue:

Sources of stress for farmers included a loss of control, lack of respect, unstable income, level of paperwork, loss of farming community, working alone and pressure to expand.

Supervisor Sinead Flaherty said the study highlighted how men and women view their health and how they interact with their healthcare provider: