Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Resources
Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. have demanding jobs that are often compounded by economic uncertainty, vulnerability to weather events, and isolation. Rural agricultural communities may also have limited access to health and mental healthcare services, which can make it difficult for farm and ranch families to receive support when they are experiencing extreme stress, anxiety, depression, or another mental health crisis. Like chronic pain, poor mental health can make it difficult to manage other stressors that are common in farmers’ lives.
Due in part to the stresses faced in farming, agricultural workers have high rates of suicide. This loss of parents, siblings, children, and spouses can be avoided – if you or someone you know is experiencing excessive stress or thoughts of suicide, please reach out to a confidential crisis support line.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line Text HEAL to 741741
In addition to the ongoing challenges and stressors of farm life, farmers and their businesses are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They face challenges related to their own stress, the health and safety of their families and employees, and a wide range of financial concerns, such as disruptions to food supply networks and the foodservice industry. There are many resources available to help you cope with this trying time. Here, we want to share a few resources for your health and wellness, including several related to coping with COVID-19. COVID-19 Resources for Farmers is a collection of resources provided by the Washington State University Skagit Extension to help farmers and communities funded through the State of Washington, Department of Health under the provisions of House Bill 2671.
These resources provide additional background information on farm-related stress:
- Why Farmers Face Unique Threats from Stress
Fact sheet explaining the stressors farmers face and related mental health concerns.
- Mental Health in Rural America
American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit, National Farmers Union
An August 2020 RFD-TV Rural America Live feature episode focused on farm stress and farmer mental health.
- Rural Stress Polling Presentation
American Farm Bureau Federation
Findings from a survey of rural adults, farmers, and farmworkers regarding mental health. Discusses stigma, access to mental health resources, and factors that impact farmers’ mental health.
- Understanding Key Stresses in Farming and Ranching
North Dakota State University Extension
Discusses many of the unique stresses that farmers and ranchers experience, explore their impact, and discuss resources for support.
- The Surprising Rate of Farmer Suicide
9-minute video telling the story of a Minnesota farmer who died by suicide. Ted Matthews, a psychologist specializing in farmer mental health, discusses the rising rates of suicide in the farming community.
- Farm Family Stressors: Private Problems, Public Issue
National Council on Family Relations
Describes a variety of key on- and off-farm stressors that impact the mental, physical, and financial health of farm families. It also discusses some of the ways in which these stressors can affect farming communities.
- Farmer Stress
American Psychological Association
Discusses farmer stress during the COVID-19 pandemic with links to resources on managing stress, seeking help, and mental health provider resources. Includes a video of a conversation about farmer stress as part of Farm Aid 2020.