A variety of resources and projects to address the challenges of stress and mental health are available to Minnesota farm families and rural residents.
The following is a compilation of current information from several sources:
• The National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center are partnering on two efforts. One is a project that will work on changing public perception of mental illness in agricultural communities and equipping the community to identify and help people who may be having thoughts of suicide. The project also seeks to create personal stories of farmers or farm families who want to share their story of living with mental illness or being a suicide loss survivor.
The second effort is providing suicide prevention classes in agricultural communities.
If you are interested in helping to host a suicide prevention class, or if you are a farmer or member of a farm family who would like to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go online to learn more about NAMI.
• “Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture” is an online six-session education series of American Agri-Women, University of Minnesota Extension, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, and District 11 of Minnesota Agri-Women.
The online classes are designed to help women in agriculture cultivate resiliency by focusing on what they can control in challenging times and connecting them with resources and information to help them weather stress. The 90-minute classes began in December and will continue through April. Each session focuses on a topic for discussion and includes an interactive Q&A period. The free sessions, all on Fridays, start at noon central time. Previous sessions were recorded and archived for later viewing.
Remaining online sessions are:
• Feb. 8: Building and Maintaining Relationships in Stressful Times
• March 8: Increasing Your Joy and Happiness While Living a Farm Life
• April 12: Putting It All Together
Go online to register for seminars or to view a past session.
The Cultivating Resiliency project also is conducting a survey to learn more about resiliency to stress and women in agriculture. The online survey is anonymous, takes less than 10 minutes and is open to all women working in agriculture.
Go online to learn more about the survey.
Visit z.umn.edu/cultivatingsurvey to take the survey before it closes April 1.
Go online for more information on the Cultivating Resiliency project.
Minnesota state resources
Statewide resources listed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture include:
• The Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline, 833-600-2670, ext.1. Calls are free, confidential, 24/7, and answered by trained staff and volunteers. If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts — call. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to somebody you don’t know.
• Ted Matthews, rural mental health counselor, 320-266-2390. Matthews works with farmers across the state at no cost. His service is available thanks to funds from the Minnesota Legislature. A brochure on the state’s ag mental health outreach program offers additional information.
• Mobile crisis team counselors are available in every Minnesota county. They respond quickly and provide in-person, short-term counseling or mental health services during a crisis or emergency. Calls are answered immediately 24 hours a day. Responders travel in private vehicles and generally arrive within 2 hours. Go online to locate your county number.
• The University of Minnesota offers the “Dealing with Stress” website to help you identify, manage and help others who are experiencing stress.
Additional mental health resources available include:
• Your local medical clinic; your county social or mental health services; your church.
• National Alliance on Mental Illness; St. Paul office, 888-626-4435. Many cities have local chapters.