As any farmer or rancher can tell you, farm life can be demanding and stressful. It has reached a critical stage with pandemic impacts on top of natural disasters, extreme weather events, financial pressures due to fluctuating commodity prices, labor shortages, trade disruptions and other factors over the past several years. Given these ongoing challenges, it’s no surprise that more farmers and farm families are experiencing stress and mental health concerns.
A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you.
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression or another mental health challenge, you are not alone. Check out the following resources and follow #FarmStateofMind on social media to show your support. A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you.
If there’s a resource you’d like us to consider for this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
National Poll Shows Encouraging Signs of Reduced Stigma Around Farmer Mental Health
Farmers and people in rural areas are more comfortable talking about stress and mental health challenges with others, and stigma around seeking help or treatment has decreased in rural and farm communities, but it is still a factor. These were some of the findings of a new American Farm Bureau Federation research poll conducted by Morning Consult among a national sample of 2,000 rural adults. The poll results were compared with previous surveys AFBF conducted in 2019 and 2020 on the impacts of the rural economy and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on farmer mental health.
National Poll Reveals Promising Trends in Rural Opioid Misuse; More Work Needed
After five years of outreach and education by farm groups, a new poll shows increased awareness and willingness to talk about the opioid crisis among rural adults, compared to 2017. Sixty percent say adults in their community are more aware of the crisis than they were five years ago, and nearly 8 in 10 adults (77%) report feeling comfortable having a conversation about opioids.
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:
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.
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.