“The Farming community has always been – lace up your bootstraps and go do it again.” But what happens when that way of thinking isn’t enough. According to USA Today, more than 450 farmers died by suicide across nine Midwestern state from 2014-2018. Meanwhile, calls to crisis hotlines are soaring.
Riddled with near-record debt, unpredictable climate change and trade wars, Midwest farmers find themselves in a pressure cooker. For some, the burden is too much.
As family members, friends, and neighbors; it’s important to know the warning signs for our own mental health and the mental health of others.
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
Noticing these signs and changes can be crucial in the help against mental illness. It can be a hard conversation to start but what matters most is showing genuine care, empathy, and listening.
Wisconsin Farm and Agriculture Organizations have taken a huge step in the right direction and have stronger programs, resources and help for those struggling, now more than ever.
Wisconsin Resources for Mental Health:
Counseling Voucher Program – Through this program, farmers and farm families can obtain counseling services from a participating mental health provider in their local area (210 Providers in 60 WI Counties) at NO COST. Vouchers can be requested by contacting the 24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline or Wisconsin Farm Center Helpline (1-800-942-2474).
24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline (1-888-901-2558)
Farmer and Farm Couples Support Group
8 p.m. | 4th Monday of every month | Online
Register at https:// bit.ly/2KI2ftd
Farmer Wellness Tele-Counseling Sessions – Sessions can be requested by contacting the 24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline (1-888-901-2558) or Wisconsin Farm Center Helpline (1-800-942-2474).
Resilient Farms and Families Monthly Newsletter – DATCP is working in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension to implement a new monthly newsletter for supporters of agriculture including agriculture organizations, service providers, stakeholders, and associations. The newsletter will provide information on events, programs, services, and resources available to farmers and educational materials that can be shared such as social media graphics. Sign Up Here!
Rural Realities Podcast – The Rural Realities podcast focuses on helping farmers tap into their resilient nature by presenting advice from experts that can help reduce stress, improve a farm’s financial situation, implement good farm family communication skills, and more. Click Here to Listen!
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE – (Call 1-800-273-8255)
The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
Future Resources (Coming Soon):
- Job Hunting Workbook for Farmers
- Farm/Ranch Stress Assistance Network
Rural Mutual Insurance promises to protect Wisconsin farms, families, and businesses and to help rebuild following times of unintended loss. We also understand that not all losses are physical and recognize the importance of mental health during these times as well.
If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out to a close friend or family member. People want to help; all you must do is be open to having a conversation.