Ag News

Farmers reminded of help available during Mental Health Month

Posted on May 15, 2024 at 22:52 PM

During March, the 988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline fielded 482,528 calls, online chats and texts, according the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). Since its launch in July 2022, it has received approximately 9.6 million contacts.

May as National Mental Health Month, then, calls attention to a clear area of need.

Mental health professionals and advocates often use the term “triggers,” referring to occurrences or circumstances that prompt emotional responses. As any farmer will tell you, there is no shortage of challenges.

At the same time, there is no shortage of help. In January, the American Farm Bureau Federation unveiled the Farm Family Wellness Alliance, which offers Togetherall, a safe, clinically moderated peer-to-peer community, where members around the world are there to listen, support and give members’ mental wellbeing a boost. Through an anonymous profile, users can access a global network of peers, backed by the safeguarding of licensed clinicians overseeing the community around-the-clock. Access to the platform is available to members of a farm family aged 16 and older.

In addition to Togetherall’s global community, farmers and their families will have access to an agricultural sector sub-group to share or read others’ experiences in a safe, judgement-free zone.

Farming is a stressful occupation that is associated with increased levels of anxiety and depression. Multiple studies show that farmer suicide rates are 2-5x higher than the national average. American Farm Bureau’s Farm State of Mind features an extensive collection of resources to connect struggling farmers and ranchers with potentially life-saving help.

Among these are:

• The 988 crisis line (;

Rural Georgia: Growing Stronger, a program through the UGA Cooperative Extension Service to assist farmers an rural families with issues from maintaining good mental and physical health to juggling economic, educational or lifestyle concerns;

Farm State of Mind also offer tips to recognize warning signs for someone who might be struggling:

• Change in routines or social activities;

• Decline in the care of domestic animals;

• Increase in illness or other chronic conditions;

• Increase in farm accidents;

• Decline in appearance of the farmstead;

• Decreased interest in activities or events;

• Signs of stress in children including struggles with school

Learn more about recognizing the signs of chronic stress, depression or suicidal intent and what you can do to help at NY FarmNet.

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