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Farming community urged to ‘rethink-risk’ to personal health and wellbeing

As Farm Safety Week 2021 (19-23 July) draws to a close the Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster is highlighting the ‘Farm Families Health Check Programme’.

The Farm Families Health Checks Programme is funded by DAERA’S TRPSI Programme and the Public Health Agency. The service which has been delivered by the Northern Trust since July 2012 aims to improve the Health and Wellbeing of Farmers, Farm Families and Rural communities through Health Promotion and Health Screening. A bespoke van travels around the livestock Markets, Rural Community Events and Shows all over Northern Ireland.

HSENI Chief Executive Robert Kidd said: “Work-related stress and mental health issues often go together and it can be difficult to distinguish when ‘stress’ turns into a ‘mental health problem’.

“In recent months the physical and mental pressure on the farming community have increased dramatically.

“I very much commend services such as Farm Families and the help they offer to the farming community. I would encourage everyone to take some time to learn more about the free services on offer.”

The Health check provided by Farm Families offers a good holistic overview of your health. The incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is on the increase and could generally be delayed or prevented, your risk will be assessed at screening along with Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, weight, height and waist circumference and advice tailored to your needs by the Nurses. There is also opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns about stress or your mental health.

The programme also highlights the increased risk of skin cancer during the summer months with farmer’s often working long hours without skin protection. Clients are also reminded of any screening available to them according to their age and gender.

Guidance around Alcohol and smoking will be given.

Clients who are advised to contact their GP will receive a follow up phone call, with some be signposted to other appropriate services.

Christina Faulkner from the Farm Families Health Check Program said: “The most important Asset on the Farm is you, it is important to get to know your numbers and how small changes in our lifestyle can benefit our health and wellbeing. Farmers tend to just get on with things maybe ignoring changes in their body which could be a sign of something requiring treatment.

“Early intervention is best especially as farmers are so busy, not wanting to take a prolonged period of time from their work which could be detrimental to their business. It is great to welcome new clients and returning clients for a Health Check, it is quick, convenient with no appointment required and increases access to services in more isolated Rural areas.”

The Farm Families Health Check Program, working in partnership with Rural Support, have also released a series of videos highlighting the main areas of concern for the farming community and advice on how to combat them. The campaign “Protecting the Asset that is You” offers advice and guidance, particularly around heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Care in the Sun.

Farm Families will be attending :

Downpatrick Market Monday 19th July from 6PM

Ballymena Market Tuesday 20th July from 10AM

Further dates will be confirmed for August 2021

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