A new mental health resource is available to farmers in five states Farmers in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming in need of mental health support can use the AgriStress Helpline by calling or texting 833-897-2474 to be connected to a health care professional. The number is available 24/7, reports Farms.com.
Farmers often face challenges outside of their control. When the weight of these issues can begin to feel overwhelming, it’s important for farmers to have the necessary support, said Chris Chinn, Missouri’s director of agriculture.
“Having a career in agriculture is not for the faint of heart,” she said in a Sept. 9 statement. “Unpredictable weather, market volatility, cost fluctuation, government regulations and long hours can put pressure on our producers and their families.”
The AgriSafe Network, a non-profit helping reduce rural health care challenges, runs the hotline.
Farmers can be confident the people they’d speak with understand the unique challenges related to agriculture.
The people who staff the hotline “have extra training to know the culture, values, stressors, and lived experience of agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers,” AgriSafe’s website says. “In addition, crisis specialists have access to a state specific curated database of agricultural and health resources.”
Farmers are developing a comfort level when it comes to discussing mental health.
The American Farm Bureau Federation commissioned a poll of 2,000 rural Americans in December 2021.
The results, released in January 2022, found that four in five rural adults and 92 percent of farmers would be comfortable discussing stress and mental health with friends, families or their doctors.