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Remove mental health veil

Prairie Post: There is hope for those suffering from mental health issues.

Kevin Schulz, Editor

June 21, 2024

3 Min Read
Yellow street sign reading "How do you feel?"
WARNING SIGNS: People struggling with mental health issues may or may not give signals of their struggles, but a lot can be learned just by starting a conversation.nzphotonzGettyImages

Times definitely are changing. What used to be handled with a gruff “Just get over it!” has been replaced with a kinder, gentler, “How are you really doing?”

Some say that our society has become softer, and in some ways that may be true. But when it comes to dealing with mental health issues of ourselves and those around us, a gentle hand is what is needed.

Every family is impacted by mental health in some form or another, and of varying levels of severity.

Some may dispute that last statement that every family has been impacted. If you disagree with that statement, you are either blind or deaf.

Ignorance isn't bliss

Ignoring mental health issues does not make the problem go away. Ignoring that a problem exists doesn’t necessarily make it worse either, but it definitely doesn’t help the situation.

Gone are the days of brushing mental health issues under the rug. Those issues have come to the headlines and the forefront. May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, but an issue of such importance needs more than one month of concern each year.

Mindy Ward from Missouri Ruralist and I recently tag-teamed on a package of articles that shone a light on mental health during May.

If you didn’t check these out when they first appeared, I encourage you to take a look. If you did read them, I would advise revisiting them.

The three-part series kicked off sharing Bob Worth’s and Elizabeth Golombiecki’s stories of dealing with their mental health struggles.

We appreciate that these two were willing to bare their souls to put names and faces to real-life struggles.

You may know Bob and Elizabeth, or you may not, but I can bet that you know someone with similar tales.

There is hope

Part 2 of the series focuses on the work that Shannah Mulvihill and Monica McConkey do in the area of counseling and providing help to those with mental health issues. Mulvihill is the executive director and CEO of Mental Health Minnesota, and McConkey is a rural mental health specialist with Eyes on the Horizon Consulting in Minnesota.

In addition to throwing out sobering statistics of the prevalence of mental issues, they both also offer tips on how to best confront those dealing with mental health and to recognize what stressors are the root cause.

Stress comes in many forms, as varied as the ways each individual responds. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to help yourself or to help someone else.

The struggles this spring presents could provide plenty of stressors to lead people to reach out for help.

That leads us to Part 3 of the series, in which Mindy and I assembled a number of resources to turn to get the help when needed. There are probably many more resources that people can use to work through mental health issues, regardless if you’re reaching out for yourself or a family member.

Just remember, you are not the only one facing such battles, and there are places to turn.

How are you really doing? There is hope.

Comments? Send email to [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

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