Determinants of Physical and Mental Health of NI Farmers(UU)

A project by: Kelly Trearty

pledged of £1,000 target

This project did not reach its target.

Completion Date: Thu 31 May 2018
Determinants of NI farmer wellbeing: Isolation, deprivation, environment, and self-reported healths.

Rural farmer isolation, poverty, and rural community wellbeing in Northern Ireland

Project  team:

My name is Kelly Trearty I am a 2nd year PhD student at Ulster University

My team members and supervisors are:

(Primary) Prof. Brendan Bunting and (Secondary) Dr. John Mallett

My research areas of interest are what are the longitudinal factors that influence an individual’s physical and mental health in northern Ireland

Coming from a farming background myself, with an extensive knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of farming life – this makes me a more suitable candidate over and above a majority of other researchers conducting this type of unique research. I am able to merge my personal farm expertise with the knowledge gained at university and use it collectively to understand the datasets and results in a more holistic and meaningful manner, so that my project can benefit and promote better health in NI society. While other studies have touched on these areas before, using some factors in tandem or isolation, to the authors knowledge this Is the first time a research project has analysed these particular predictors and datasets to answer these questions over a 16 year period in NI.

Short summary

This study is based on NI population and targets sectors such as health, agriculture, environment, and community.  In investigating the interplay of factors causing positive and negative health outcomes, this research potentially can inform a wide array of policy and programming affecting farmers and caregivers.

This study aims to fill a gap in the current research regarding the factors that negatively influence the physical and mental health outcomes of Northern Ireland’s farmers and unpaid carers.

While this project will provide a baseline for future multi-disciplinary research in this area, the findings will have important implications for policymakers at Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Department of Health in Northern Ireland.

The money raised will be used to fund the researchers visits to other Universities to complete external training courses: e.g. analysing linked health data, R statistical Software, and Geographical Information Systems software’s.


A plethora of differences are evident across the country in the type and scale of production in response to varied physical, social, economic, and political factors, which in turn lead to the development of distinctive spatial patterns of agricultural production.

The polarized differences in the NI landscape typography of rural and urban areas can lead to very different health illnesses, with for example multiple types of deprivation in rural areas possibly causing bad health for rural dwellers

Farmers are one of the most vulnerable groups and a high-risk subgroup for serious health issues: due to occupational adversities, extensive physical and mental health demands of farming life; and the under supported nature of their roles.

Therefore, this paper maps population health to land typography in order to geospatially analyse patterns of health using GIS software. As a diversification, this paper will adopt the ‘One Health’ approach merging agricultural and administrative datasets to investigate environmental effects on overall biological health of the collective NI population.


Given the widespread rural isolation, varied levels of poverty and deprivation, and differences in rural community wellbeing - Investigate the factors that influence and change the physical and mental health outcomes of farming households (principle farmer; their spouse; and family), (such as those who provide unpaid care)

To the authors knowledge this Is the first time a research project has analysed these particular predictors and datasets to answer these questions within Northern Ireland.


The results of this paper will inform policy makers for better resource allocation and help them better anticipate the full health implications of their decisions:

·      highlight when/where the next generation of farmers need more health and safety training;

·      identify patterns of multiple disadvantages, through land and administrative deprivation analysis (e.g. recession effects and reduced grants / government financial support on farming/agricultural family household incomes) on rural health (e.g. health service proximity) and other consequences of this;

·      provide evidence to better inform the identification of specific groups/areas at risk and potential reasons;

·      guide eradication programmes;

·      identify improvements needed to be made in the current system;

How will the money be used?

·      courses in analysis of linked health data, University of Swansea (travel and accommodation  £500)

·      R software courses by Insight (Dublin) (travel £200)

- conferences travel and car hire £200

- PhD workshops (travel expenses £150)

·      statistical analysis summer school 2018 in Essex (travel and course fees £600)

More Information

If you need more information, feel free to contact me anytime:

Kelly Trearty

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