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Mental health resources for farmers

Here is a quick guide to find the help you need during times of stress or distress.

2 Min Read
a virtual visit with a mental health professional and a depressed man
REACH OUT: Dealing with the stressors of farm life? Don’t do it alone. Help is just a click away — whether on your phone, computer or tablet. verbaska_studio/Getty Images

Editor’s note: This is the final in a three-part series as Farm Progress focuses on mental health awareness for our nation’s farmers and ranchers during Mental Health Month. Part 1 features the story of two farmers who have struggled with mental health issues. Part 2 offers counselors tips for how to respond to stress.

Mental health professionals are hard to find in rural areas, but help is just a phone call, text or online chat away.

The majority of rural adults say that accessibility and availability are barriers to seeking help for a mental health condition, according to the American Farm Bureau 2021 Farmer and Rural Perception of Mental Health report. Cost remains the largest obstacle, and embarrassment rounds out the top four reasons farmers and ranchers don’t seek outside help.

Government and the agriculture community are bridging the convenience gap, whether in a crisis response or dealing with everyday stress.

Mental health resources

It’s been two years since the U.S. launched its 988 national mental health hotline, but 82% of Americans still are not familiar with it, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Dubbed the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, the federally mandated crisis number became available to all landline and cellphone users in 2022. It provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling or texting 988. People can also chat online at 988lifeline.org.

Related:Suicide and stress impact farmers’ mental health

This latest hotline is not the only one.

While not a comprehensive list, below are mental health resources designed for farmers and ranchers. States also have a list typically with their department of agriculture.

In times of crisis, contact the following:

Farm Aid Hotline. 800-FARM-AID, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern.

AgriStress Helpline. 833-897-2474 (call or text), 24/7 in Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association National Helpline. 1-800-662-4357 or TTY: 1-800-487-4889, 24/7, samhsa.gov.

Avera Health Farmer Stress Hotline. 800-691-4336

Stress & Crisis: Get Help Now. 833-660-2670. Text FARMSTRESS to 898211

In times of distress, visit these websites:

Mental health triggers

Farmers have a unique set of stressors, whether it is finances, weather, markets or family. As they mount, if not treated, changes in behavior or physical symptoms can appear.

Here’s what to look for either in yourself or others:

An infographic outlining signs and symptoms of stress and mental health

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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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