Assessing the mental health impacts of climate change on farmers: A Cross Sectoral Approach. Online Workshop, 31st March 2022, UCC.

11 Mar 2022

Convenors: Dr Tracey Skillington (Department of Sociology and Criminology, UCC) and Dr Annalisa Setti (Applied Psychology, UCC).

Funded by the EPA and Supported by UCC




The Government’s Climate Action Plan 2019 notes how adaptation actions ‘should be risk-based, informed by existing vulnerabilities of our society and systems, and an understanding of projected climate change’ (p. 143). ‘Existing vulnerabilities’, research suggests, increasingly include the mental health and wellbeing impacts of climate change and related social, cultural and economic change. Yet to date these impacts have not featured as priority concerns in national or EU policy responses to climate change. One major challenge we face moving forward is determining how best the navigate the socio-emotional terrain of potentially largescale environmental breakdown and its disruptions to traditional interactions with the natural environment, community, landscape, cultural heritage, labor, mobility, and more. This workshop focuses specifically on how these issues affect Ireland’s farming communities. It brings together a broad range of experts, government policy, health, safety and farming community representatives to consider in more depth current gaps in understandings of Irish farmers’ lived experiences of climate change and its impacts on mental health (e.g., heightened anxiety and stress linked to loss of livelihood, security of place, rural heritage, traditional knowledge skills, identity, biodiversity, hope for the future, etc.).


A range of resilience building, positive mental health measures will be considered and brought into dialogue with the goals of sustainable agriculture, heritage, life on land, decent work, reduced inequalities and other goals in ways that attempt to further the WHO’s Health in all Policies Approach (e.g., SDG3+, nature-based prevention, adaptation, and heritage restoration) and help move debate on the mental health risks posed by climate change more into mainstream policy thinking.





President of UCC, Professor John O’Halloran


10-10.20am - 10.20am

Tracey Skillington & Annalisa Setti

Introduction to workshop, schedule & major aims


Mary Butler, Minister for Mental Health and Older People,

The importance of good mental health

10.40 -10.55 am

Dr Ina Kelly, Depart of Public Health, HSE, Midlands

The mental health impacts of climate change on farming communities – A Public Health Perspective


Dr Finola Colgan, Mental Health Ireland

Climate Change, Mental Health, Farming - What are the Impacts?


Dr Declan Byrne, Teagasc, Wicklow, Uplands Projects,

Farming in the Uplands

Q& A: 11.25-11. 40am

11.40am: Coffee 10 minutes


Dr Alice Doyle, IFA, Wexford Mental Health, Chair of Farm Families Committee, IFA,

Climate anxiety-a farmer's perspective

Breakout Group Discussions: 12.05-12.20pm


Dr John McNamara, Teagasc, Kilkenny, Health & Safety; UCD,

Advisory support for Farmers’ Mental Health and Climate Change Mitigation


Dr Patrick McGurn, Caomhnú Árann, 

Climate change and agriculture, the role of low input agricultural systems for biodiversity and carbon storage. 


Dr Angela Veale, School of Applied Psychology, UCC

Climate change- individual and community resilience

Breakout Group Discussions & Synopsis: 1.05-1.20pm

1.20-2.20pm Lunch Brea

2.20pm -2.35pm.

Dr Gerard Clarke, Psychiatry, UCC,

Stress and the microbiome-gut-brain axis


Dr Annalisa Setti, Applied Psychology, UCC

How we think about climate anxiety and pro-environmental behaviour

You can register for the workshop at the conference information page here:

Department of Sociology & Criminology

Socheolaíocht & Coireolaíocht

Askive, Donovan's Road, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland, T12 DT02