photo credit: Ohio Farm Bureau, Used with Permission
May is Mental Health Month, a great time to remember the difference we can all make—and to reach out to our neighbors, friends and family. It’s easy to forget how even a small act, like a text or phone call, can go a long way in turning someone’s day around, not to mention how it can brighten your own day when you help lift someone else up. I want to challenge you this month to take every week of May to reach out and check in with folks around you.
Here's the challenge: each week this month—five weeks in all—reach out to a friend, family member, neighbor and fellow farmer in the following ways:
Let’s make the commitment together.
Each of these acts seems simple, but can make a huge difference for someone facing a challenge you may not even be aware of. Research shows that folks are most comfortable talking with friends and family about stress, and that those conversations can sometimes be the most effective in relieving the burden of stress and anxiety. At Farm Bureau, we often talk about how we are stronger together. No one is meant to face the challenges of life alone: those burdens are just too heavy. We have community—friends, family and neighbors—to help carry the load. You can make a world of difference in someone’s day, in someone’s life, simply by showing up.
We all go through tough times, but there is no shortage of people who care and want to help.
I know this firsthand. A few years back, I was having one of those days on the farm when nothing was going right. We’ve all been there. It was blazing hot, and to top it all off, I couldn’t get the tractor to start. I tried everything. New battery. New starter. Nothing worked. The problems just kept stacking up, and I was feeling pretty alone.
Just then, my old friend Bill drove up. He had come to tell me I had army worms in my field. (Great—add that to all my other problems!) But then, I remembered that Bill’s a shade tree mechanic. So, I spoke up and asked him if he had a minute to help. Well, of course, Bill jumped out of his truck, asked for a wrench, turned a couple of bolts, and before I knew it, he had my tractor back up and running.
Bill didn’t know the kind of day I was having, but he was there when I needed a friend and didn’t hesitate to jump right in and help. I told him, “You probably don’t realize this, Bill, but God brought you into my life today.”
We all go through tough times, but there is no shortage of people who care and want to help. No one can do it all. It’s OK to not be OK. But it is not OK to keep all that stress bottled up inside you.
Let’s all take a few extra minutes to make those small gestures this month—and every month—and see what an impact we can make together. Relationships and community can be a lifeline for those struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and substance misuse. No one should have to go it alone. The Farm Bureau family is here to help. If you or someone you know is struggling, visit fb.org/FarmStateOfMind for more resources.