This is National Farm Safety and Health Week.
Farmer suicides were a major issue during the recession of the 1980s and are again a serious concern during the current ag economy recession.
But, farmer and psychologist at the University of Iowa Dr. Michael Rosmann says attitudes and awareness have changed, offering hope.
Rossman says in addition to financial stress, farmers today are dealing with increased uncertainty, caused by trade disruptions, regulations and climate shifts.
Statistics show farmers are 60% more likely to commit suicide than the general population. The federal Farm Bill contained funding for the establishment of regional farm stress centers around the country to enable communities to develop programs to help farmers deal with stress.
Rosmann says farmers can help themselves by opening up and discussing their problem.
Rosmann is the keynote speaker at a three-day South Dakota Farm and Ranch Stress Summit being held next week (Sept. 23-25) in Oacoma. The goal is to provide farmers, ranchers, their families and those in support roles such as counselors, bankers, consultants, clergy and crop insurance agents with information on working through individual stress and how to provide support to individuals dealing with stress.
- Capital Area Counseling Service: CACSnet.org or call 605-224-5811.
- 2-1-1 Helpline Center: 211 or https://www.helplinecenter.org/2-1-1-community-resources/search/guided-search/
- Avera Health Farm and Rural Stress Hotline: 1-800-691-4336. The number is answered 24 hours a day. Calls are free and confidential. The hotline is staffed by trained assessment counselors who put callers in touch with local mental health resources.