Stress & Mental Health

Those in agriculture face an increased risk for suicide and mental health challenges.  This is often due to social and geographical isolation, weather variability (such as extreme droughts  or flash floods), limited access to health services, and fluctuating commodity prices. All of these factors have a direct impact on ag workers’ mental health. Stigma and privacy concerns associated with mental health may mean that many people do not seek out available behavioral health services.

However, ignoring signs that our mental well-being needs a tune-up could result in time away from work & increased healthcare expenses. Even the toughest people need help sometimes.

 

 

 

A change in appearance or behavior might be the first thing you recognize in yourself or someone else. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of stress and warning signs of suicide. (These are only some of the signs.)

Signs & Symptoms

    • A decline in personal appearance
    • Changes in routines or social activities
    • Increases in illness or chronic conditions
    • Lack of interest in activities
    • A decline in the care of pets and livestock
    • A decline in the appearance of the farm
    • Increases in farm accidents
    • A recent loss (emotional, relational, or financial)

Warning Signs of Suicide

    • Withdrawal from friends or activities
    • Suggesting people would be better off without them
    • Engaging in risky behaviors
    • Drastic changes in mood or behavior
    • Giving away possessions

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has occurred more often. Learn more.

 

It’s okay to acknowledge feelings of anxiousness, hopelessness or even thoughts of suicide. Tough conversations today could prevent tragedy tomorrow. If you know someone that is experiencing emotional pain or thoughts of suicide…

  1. Ask if they want to talk and let them know you care about them.
  2. Listen to them well.
  3. Familiarize yourself with available mental and behavioral health resources.
  4. Connect them to help then follow up.
  5. Reduce access to lethal means, such as fire arms, if you think someone is at risk of suicide.

 

Click on your state to find a virtual counselor near you.

 

Texas Resources:

  • AgriStress Helpline for Texas 833-897-2474
    • The AgriStress HelplineSM is a free and confidential crisis and support line that you can call or text 24/7, and interpretation services are provided in 160 languages.
    • The helpline is answered by trained professionals who can offer support and/or help you find mental health resources in your area.
    • Utilizes a “care navigation” process that: triages for safety with crisis intervention and response; directs callers to appropriate resources for their situation.
    • Both the AgriStress Helpline and 988 offer the same quality of suicide crisis services – but our crisis specialists have extra training to know the culture, values, stressors, and lived experiences of agriculture, forestry, and fishing workers. In addition, crisis specialists have access to a state specific curated database of agricultural and health resources.

National Resources:

Disaster Prep & Recovery Resources

 

We need your help to end the stigma around mental health especially in the agricultural communities. According to a recent survey by American Farm Bureau, farmers and farm workers are more likely to seek out mental health resources from their primary care doctor.

If you are a rural office, clinic or hospital and would like to share mental health resources with your patients and staff, click here to request resources.

How can individuals help?

    • Download the social media toolkit and help get the word out about the AgriStress Helpline and other mental health resources.
    • Encourage your local businesses, agencies, and organizations to display print materials that advertise the AgriStress Helpline! If you’d like to request free print materials, fill out the Helpline Print Materials Request Form.
    • Enroll in the Ag Wellness Training so you can learn to better assist someone going through a hard time or crisis and become an advocate in your community.
    • Show that you appreciate and support your farmers and ranchers – give them thanks. This can be done by sending them a thank-you card, by talking to them about the weather, by waving kindly at tractors and other ag vehicles, by buying fresh and eating local, or by going to your local farmers market and getting to know them. Whatever’s comfortable for you.
    • Promote policy changes that support mental health programs in your area.
    • Speak openly and kindly about mental health and wellness in your community.
    • If you have concerns about someone you care about, call FOR them. Find and share resources with them.

How can organizations help?

    • Download the social media toolkit and help get the word out about the AgriStress Helpline and other mental health resources.
    • Provide financial support – make a donation to help make the AgriStress Helpline national.
    • Use showrooms/stores/offices to display flyers, handouts, and other marketing materials. If you’d like to request free print materials, fill out the Helpline Print Materials Request Form.
    • Enroll employees in the Ag Wellness Training so they can learn to better assist someone going through a hard time or crisis.

Program Media Inquiries & Questions

Please contact Shelbie Lambert, SW Ag Center Content Strategist at for questions about this project or collaboration.

Seasons Change | You Remain Campaign Overview

AgriStress Helpline Media Inquiries & Questions

Members of the media with questions about the AgriStress Helpline are encouraged to reach out to Laura Siegel, AgriSafe’s Health Communications Officer, at . For general inquiries about the AgriStress Helpline, contact Executive Director Natalie Roy at .