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

Date published: 23 July 2021

As Farm Safety Week 2021 (19-23 July) draws to a close the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) is highlighting the ‘Farm Families Health Check Programme’.

The Farm Families Health Checks Programme is funded by DAERA’S Tackle Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (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.

The videos may be viewed at


Notes to editors: 

1. Farm Safety Week 2021 is supported by the Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety Partnerships, the Health and Safety Executive, the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority, Ireland.

2. The Farm Safety Partnership comprises the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), NFU Mutual (NFUM), the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU), the Farm Safety Foundation, and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA). It is tasked with assisting Northern Ireland’s farming community to work safely and tackle the problem of work-related fatalities and injuries on farms.

3. The Farm Safety Partnership’s ongoing ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ farm safety campaign focuses on the four main causes of death and injury on our farms – slurry, animals, falls and equipment (SAFE).

4. For media enquiries please contact HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

5. HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland.

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