Nearly Half of Rural Adults Experiencing More Mental Stress

02:32PM May 03, 2019
Farm Sense
Farm Sense with Clinton Griffiths
( Farm Journal )

COMMENTARY: There's no doubt it's been a stressful few years in agriculture.  This spring isn't exactly helping with prices stagnant or falling, too much rain, flooding, trade wars, drama in Washington and the ever-present threat of diseases like African swine fever. It's been a little hard to get comfortable.

Which is why I think we've seen multiple heartfelt videos on social media from farmers facing difficult times. 

Just this week, The American Farm Bureau released a survey they commissioned on the issue of rural stress and mental health. It was taken just last month.

The results show two in five rural adults say stress and mental health have become more of a problem in their community in the past five years. Also, 36% say it's gotten worse in the last year.

Nearly half of rural adults say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago and it seems to be worse for younger folks ages 18-44.
A third of rural adults say they have personally sought care for a mental health condition and if you're a farmer or farmworker it's one in five. 

When asked why, rural adults believe stress, weather, the economy, stigma around mental health and isolation are all having a negative impact on the mental health of farmers. 

Even this week, unrelated research on behalf of BetterHelp found its not just an issue in rural places. One in four people say they don't feel that they have anyone to confide in.

I won't pretend to be a therapist or counselor. There are great people working in that profession.  I will say, that if this research tells me anything, it's that you aren't alone. 

Even in the most remote of places, there are others dealing with the same thoughts, stresses and uncertainties. Maybe knowing that helps or encourages you to seek out a friend, a professional or a family member. 

Someone you can be really honest with, who's willing to listen, to encourage, and to help.  There is no better community than the ag community to ask for help. We're great at offering support. 

So, let's cut each some slack this planting season, share a smile rather than a harsh word and see if we can find a way through the uncertainty of another year.

Related Links:

Watch for Signs of Suicidal Risk on Your Farm

Farm Sense Mental Health 050319
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