Embrace FARM, Ireland’s only support network for those bereaved by, or who have survived, farm accidents have launched a new one-to-one mentoring programme.
The Embrace FARM Encircle programme, funded by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP), through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will offer one-to-one supports for individuals and families in the aftermath of a farm accident, suspected suicide, sudden trauma or fatal illness.
According to findings from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) there have been over 200 farm-related deaths in Ireland over the last ten years and many more accidents, with 113 serious accidents recorded in 2021 alone.
Minister Martin Heydon, Kildare TD and Department of State says: “As we continue to work on improving farm safety and reduce the number of serious and fatal incidents on Irish farms, it is equally important that families affected by sudden traumas are supported. EmbraceFARM has for many years played a crucial role for many Irish farm families in the aftermath of fatal or lifechanging incidents.
“This European Innovation Partnership (EIP), one of eight being funded by my Department in the area of farmer safety, health and wellbeing, will enable Embrace FARM to build on that work. As we are all unfortunately too aware, a farm tragedy can present a range of potential issues for families. That is why I have no doubt the one-to-one tailored support will be invaluable to those who need it.”
The Encircle programme will offer supports to farmers and farm families all over the country through a nationwide panel of professional mentors encompassing the full spectrum of legal, financial, Agri and emotional issues that individuals and families contend with in the aftermath of these sudden situations.
The programme has been developed by a dedicated operational group which is led by Embrace FARM, and the programme supports are informed by industry specialists including IFAC, Agricultural Solicitors, Agricultural Consultants Association, Rural Support, HSE National Office of Suicide Prevention.
Norma Rohan, General Manager and Co-Founder of Embrace FARM said: “Our panel of mentors have been carefully selected in order to cater to the many complex issues facing families and individuals who have been impacted in the aftermath of a farm accident or suspected suicide.
“Once someone contacts us, we will work with them to figure out what they need, and in what order of priority, and from there we will match them with the right professional mentors who can support them where they need help the most, whether it be legal, emotional, financial or general support with the overall operation of a farming business.”
Since its inception in 2014 by husband and wife team Brian and Norma Rohan, Embrace FARM has supported more than 285 farm families in the aftermath of a serious farm accident or fatality. Having lost Brian’s father Liam, in a traumatic farm accident in 2012, the Rohan’s knew from first-hand experience that there was a growing need for support in this area.
Brian Rohan, Co-Founder of Embrace FARM, recalls: “There were hundreds of people here over the weekend of the funeral and then they stopped calling and we were left to ourselves to run the farm. There was no mention of Dad. People kind of got back to their own lives and forgot about him so we wanted to find a way to remember our loved ones killed in farm accidents.
“We got calls and emails from other families all over the country, and some of them were in worse states than others with no wills in place, or mortgages on farms and no life cover, and that type of thing. We couldn’t just sit by and do nothing.”
Embrace FARM will continue to offer its peer-to-peer support services in conjunction with the Encircle Programme. Its annual ecumenical Remembrance Service takes place in Abbeyleix, Co Laois on Sunday 26th June. If you or anyone near you needs the help Embrace FARM can offer, please go to www.embracefarm.com or call 057-8510555 / 085–7709966.