Farming is Tough, But Help is Available
No question, farming can be tough in even the best of times.
Add in the weather, natural disasters, and economy over the last few years, and it is no wonder why farming is considered one of the most stressful occupations. In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, American Farm Bureau collaborated with Morning Consult on a research poll to learn about factors that affect rural adults and farmers/farmworkers mental health as well as the availability of resources, personal experiences and other issues.
What did it find? Nothing truly surprising, but important nonetheless. The broad takeaway was that farmers, farmworkers and those living in rural America are struggling both economically and emotionally. For farmers and farmworkers, financial issues (91%), farm or business problems (88%) and fear of losing the farm (87%) had an impact on farmers’ mental health. Additionally, the poll found that 31% of rural adults have personally sought care, and 24% had a family member who sought care for a mental health condition. (If you would like to read more about this poll and the results, click here.)
We know that times are tough for our rural and farm families right now. We also want you to know that you are not alone, and that there are resources available to help if you are struggling.
Virginia Cooperative Extension has a great publication that outlines some of the potential warning signs and symptoms and provides some resources to seek help.
AgrAbility, whose vision is to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural works with disabilities, so that they, their families and their communities continue to succeed in rural America (For this target audience, "success" may be defined by many parameters, including: gainful employment in production agriculture or a related occupation; access to appropriate assistive technology needed for work and daily living activities; evidence-based information related to the treatment and rehabilitation of disabling conditions; and targeted support for family caregivers of AgrAbility customers. AgrAbility addresses a wide variety of disabling conditions in agriculture), also provides resources for both Virginia (found here) and West Virginia (found here).
Finally, there are resources provided by the states that provide mental health services.
For Virginia, visit http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/community-services-boards-csbs
For West Virginia, visit https://www.help4wv.com/, https://www.help4wv.com/resources or https://dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf/Pages/default.aspx
For Maryland, visit https://health.maryland.gov/bha/suicideprevention/Pages/home.aspx
Above all, please seek help if you, or a family member or friend, are struggling, or experiencing symptoms as discussed in the Virginia Cooperative Extension article.