Challenges of the rural community in relation to well-being

On 29 August 2023, another meeting of the Agro Woman initiative was held at the head office of the Polish Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Food.

One part of the meeting was a lecture given by Dr Michal Krysiak – psychotherapist, biotechnologist and doctor of agricultural sciences, “Peaceful Countryside, Merry Countryside: Let’s Talk about the Mental Condition of Female and Male Farmers”. Dr Michał Krysiak has been involved in agribusiness for 15 years, leading, for instance, sustainable agriculture projects.
Dr Michal Krysiak also provides psychotherapy for adults and conducts development workshops and psycho-education for business.

The unpredictability of remuneration, the market, the weather and yields – all these factors affect farmers’ psychological comfort. In addition, increasing regulations, bureaucracy, demands on agricultural production and the lack of sufficient time off work put an additional burden on farm workers. At the same time, farmers seem to use professional psychotherapeutic or psychiatric help extremely rarely. Why? It is not appropriate for farmers to say “I can’t cope anymore”. There is a social compulsion to cope at all costs (i.e. at the cost of health, for example), and the topic of mental health problems is still taboo among farmers.

– said Dr Michał Krysiak.

The meeting also included the discussion about the plan for an upcoming conference on well-being and the problem of burnout among the rural community, as well as the design of a mentoring programme.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Monika Stanny, PhD, Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development, Polish Academy of Sciences;
  • Agnieszka Szymecka, Centre for Food and Product Law;
  • Bożena Bochenek, French Embassy in Poland;
  • Olaf Horbańczuk, Royal Embassy of the Netherlands;
  • Małgorzata Bojańczyk, Polish Association of Sustainable Agriculture and Food;
  • Karolina Tarnawska, Polish Association of Sustainable Agriculture and Food;

and two guest speakers:

  • Agnieszka Kubera, Accenture;
  • Anna Galica, US Embassy.

Agro Woman is an initiative of the Polish Sustainable Agriculture and Food Association to provide a platform for women to share their experiences, stories and a space to discuss the role of sustainability in agriculture, innovation, management, and the challenges of the future.