Awareness, attitudes and strategies for coping with mental health within the farming community

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Kehoe, Annabelle
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Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the awareness, attitudes and strategies for coping with mental health within the farming community. Participants consisted of ninety-three male (n = 58) and female (n = 35) members of Macra na Feirme who volunteered to partake in the study. A paper-based questionnaire was given to each participant and confidentiality and anonymity were assured. Participant’s mental health impairment was investigated using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12 – Goldberg, 1992). Attitudes towards mental illness were measured using Attitudes towards Mental Illness Scale (Cates, Burton and Woolley, 2005) and the Brief COPE Questionnaire(Carver,1997) was used to explore how participants have been coping with stress in their lives. The data collected was analysed using Independent t-tests and Pearson’s correlation. Overall, the study found that there is a clear absence of awareness among the farming community of some of the available mental health services and evidently the services are not being used. A significant difference on attitudes towards mental illness exists between males and females. In relation to coping strategies females resort to religion and use of emotional support while males predominantly are in denial and use substances to cope. Author keywords: mental health, farming, attitudes, coping