May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health is a serious concern for the farmer rancher population. Access to healthcare, financial crisis, adverse weather conditions, and the stigma around mental health issues all contribute to these concerns.
Mental health issues affects 1 in 5 individuals. This means people in your community, family, and where you work are dealing with this on a daily basis. We have included some tools and resources to help break the stigma and offer support of mental health care.
Tips and Resources
Many times, individuals struggling with stress, depression, anxiety, or suicide struggle to reach out for help. It is important that we pay attention to those around us, know the signs, and know how where to get help.
How You Can Help
Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University Extension Educator includes tips for how to talk to someone you are worried about and asking the right questions.
Start with compassion.
Dellifield suggests asking the person if they would like to go for a ride or get a cup of coffee. It is much easier for a person to have these serious conversations side-by-side rather than face-to-face. If you don’t know how to start the conversation, just say. “I’m really concerned about you. I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself. Is there something bothering you or something you’d like to talk about?”.
Listen without judgement.
Many times, the truth will come out, and we are not always ready for the response we get, especially from our loved ones. It is important to listen without judgement. It is very difficult to express when things are not going well, and the last thing someone struggling wants is to feel judged. Practice listening and understanding, so you are prepared for these difficult conversations.
Check out this resource for asking the right questions and how to help in times of stress. How to Help your Stressed-Out Farm Neighbors.
Sometimes people just need a break and someone to talk to. Farming and ranching are always affected by the seasons, and sometimes the farmers and ranchers are too. They may just need a break, someone to talk to, or just need to get away for a little bit. Offer to help where you can to alleviate some of the stress. Having someone there to take some of the burden of stressful times may be all it takes to give someone hope and a fresh start.
Know where and how to get help.
Depending on the situation and severity of the issue, there are a plethora of ways we can help. Sometimes it is difficult to know where and how to get help once you know what the person is struggling with. We have included some links to helpful resources and crisis numbers for individuals struggling with mental health issues.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line : Text “CONNECT” to 741741
Ag Help Hotlines: Farm Aid Hotline (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday)
(800) FARM-AID / (800) 327-6243
2-1-1 Texas, a program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is committed to helping Texas citizens connect with the services they need. 2-1-1 Texas is a free, anonymous social service hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1, or (877) 541-7905, and find information about resources in your local community. Whether you need help finding food or housing, child care, crisis counseling or substance abuse treatment, one number is all you need to know.
Farm Safety Check: Stress and Wellness. Do you know the signs of stress? This resources provides a checklist of signs and symptoms of stress and what you can do if you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone you know.
Mental Health and the Impact on Wellness for Farm Families – a guide for farmers and farm families