The American Farm Bureau Farm State of Mind campaign builds awareness to reduce stigma and provides access to information and resources that promote farmer and rancher mental health wellness.
Farming is a stressful occupation that is associated with increased levels of anxiety and depression. Multiple studies show that farmer suicide rates are 2-5x higher than the national average. Experiences such as natural disasters, extreme weather events, financial uncertainty, fluctuating markets, labor shortages, trade disruptions and other factors all contribute to extreme stress for farmers and ranchers who often live in a very isolated setting. It is important to break the stigma around mental health challenges and encourage those struggling to reach out for help. To build a sustainable future for agriculture for our nation and our world, we must promote the wellbeing of our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you.
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When loved ones, neighbors or others you care about are experiencing mental health challenges, they may not even realize it. Here’s how you can identify someone who may be at risk.
Change in routines or social activities
Decline in the care of domestic animals
Increase in illness or other chronic conditions
Increase in farm accidents
Decline in appearance of the farmstead
Decreased interest in activities or events
Signs of stress in children including struggles with school
Learn more about recognizing the signs of chronic stress, depression or suicidal intent and what you can do to help at NY FarmNet.
Although it may feel like it’s out of your comfort zone, you can start a conversation in any number of ways:
Remind Them of Something They’ve Said and Express Interest
"You mentioned no one seems to understand what you're going through. I want you to know you can talk to me."
— Adrienne DeSutter,
Illinois Farm Bureau Member
"I’ve noticed you haven't been the same lately. Are you okay? I really value you and our friendship and want you to know that I am always here for you."
— Brandon Fullenkamp,
Ohio Farm Bureau Member
Acknowledge What They’re Going Through
"Hey, how have you been handling all of this lately? I know it's been some tough times, can I help in any way?"
— Shelby Watson,
Maryland Farm Bureau Member
“Farmers think that it's a sign of weakness to ask for help. But actually, I think that it's the exact opposite because anything that is hard takes strength. Taking that hard step and reaching out is what saved me.”
— James Dixon,
Arkansas Farm Bureau Member
Share a habit you’ve seen change. Don’t wait for them to ask for help. If they’re willing to reach out, encourage them. Try not to compare their challenges to someone else’s, or minimize what they’re going through.
What matters most is showing genuine care and empathy, and listening.
Keep them safe
Help them connect
Visit the National Institute of Mental Health website for more information.
Connect with others
Take breaks from negative news or influences
Prioritize your health and well-being
Take time to unwind
Recognize when you need more help
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information.
When you feel better, you farm better.
Togetherall is an anonymous peer-to-peer online community that empowers farmers and their families to get and give support. Here you will find:
In addition, personal wellbeing and life event support services are available through our partner Personal Assistance Services (PAS) and accessible through Togetherall. These services include family and individual counseling provided by agriculturally competent rural mental health professionals. Watch to learn more.
These resources are made available free-of-charge for farmers and farm family members (16+) because of the generous support and collaboration of the Farm Family Wellness Alliance partners.
Click below to access information regarding American Farm Bureau Federation polls conducted by Morning Consult that aid in better understanding the landscape of rural mental health. Links to full survey results are included each article.
National Poll Shows Encouraging Signs of Reduced Stigma Around Farmer Mental Health
Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union partnered on a program to train individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers, providing them with the skills to:
Mental health issues and substance use disorders sometimes occur together, and they share some underlying causes. Farm Bureau and Farmers Union worked together to bring attention to the opioid epidemic in farm country and provide information and resources to help people struggling with addiction. The Farm Town Strong campaign has had a significant impact in reducing stigma and influencing public opinion about opioid addiction in rural America.
Are you or someone you know struggling with addiction? Call one of these three emergency hotlines now for immediate support.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
There are a number of different options you have for treating an opioid addiction, including behavioral health treatment and various medication-assisted treatments (MAT). The MATs combine behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders. Below are three options for opioid addiction treatment: behavioral health treatment, buprenorphine treatment centers (one type of MAT), and all MAT providers.
Find alcohol, drug, or mental health treatment facilities and programs around the country. It's as easy as entering your zip code!
Unlike methadone treatment, which must be performed in a highly structured clinic, buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid dependency that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access.
Find treatment programs in your state that treat addiction and dependence on opioids, such as heroin or prescription pain relievers.
There are many ways you can prevent opioid abuse. Below are several resources you can use to help your family or community.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids empowers families with information, support and guidance to get the help their loved one needs and deserves.
There are a variety of ways to help reduce exposure to opioids and prevent opioid use disorder. Find out how with resources from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Naloxone is a non-addictive, life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time.
You can dispose of your expired, unwanted, or unused medicines through a drug take back program — or you can do it at home.
Type in your zip code to find a permanent U.S. drug disposal site close to you.
There are a variety of ways to help reduce exposure to opioids and prevent opioid use disorder.
Click here for AFBF's most recent news and media content related to farmer and rancher mental health wellness.