This annual event cultivates understanding and evaluating the vital intersection of agriculture and mental health.Read More
From weather, to rising prices and costs of doing business, to long hours, and the weight of keeping the family farm in business can cause incredible amounts of stress and take a toll on a farmer’s mental well-being.
A newly created alliance will focus on mental health in agriculture to ensure Ohio’s farmers, families, and communities are better equipped to deal with stress.
Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, The Ohio State University, , Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and Farm Credit Mid-America make up the new Ohio Agricultural Mental Health Alliance.
The group’s first action is introducing a new, anonymous survey to seek feedback directly from rural communities.
“Farm stress and mental health has been something that has been talked about in whispers for generations and it is time to turn up the volume about it,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “This survey will not only shed light on what is causing stress and how those who are struggling with those stressors cope, it will also bring more awareness to this very important issue and help to provide adequate resources to our rural communities.”
The survey aims to gauge stress and how it’s being dealt with. Ohio State created the survey in partnership with Ohio MHAS and ODH; working with Ohio Farm Bureau they used a pilot group to provide feedback.
“Ohioans look out for one another,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “This survey will provide valuable help to numerous communities. I urge our farmers and beyond to answer these tough but necessary questions. You won’t only be helping yourself; you’ll be helping your family and friends.”
OAMHA will use survey results to determine where resources are needed and help ensure support is available to communities in need.
“Farmer mental health is such an important issue that is often overlooked until we read about someone we know, or someone in the community, affected by tragedy,” said ODA Director Brian Baldridge. “Our goal is to lift up every farmer, family, and neighborhood and let them know we are here for them.”
“Farming communities face different types of stress than those in other occupations, and oftentimes our mental health counselors are unsure of how to handle questions and concerns related to farming,” said Cathann Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. “This survey will help us all better understand the needs of our farming community and allow us to develop programming to meet the needs of all Ohioans.”
OAMHA encourages media, agricultural stakeholders, and all Ohioans to share the survey to help create awareness. In addition, ODA’s Got Your Back campaign offers information and resources for the agricultural community. As food and agriculture make up Ohio’s No. 1 industry – farmers carry a heavy load. It is important to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides residents with one, easy to remember number to call when they or someone they know is in crisis. On average, more than 12,000 Ohioans per month who are experiencing or affected by suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crises have used the lifeline to receive free, 24/7, confidential support and connections to local resources.
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
By talking about it, we can erase the stigma that comes with mental health.Read More
This first-of-its-kind group focuses on offering more resources to agricultural communities. The group’s first action is introducing a new, anonymous survey to seek feedback directly from rural communities.Read More
This joint initiative aimed to equip attendees with the tools and understanding required to address mental health concerns within the community.Read More
The Yvonne Lesicko Perseverance Prize recognizes groups or individuals working to find innovative solutions to farmer mental health difficulties. Nominations are due July 31, 2023.Read More
Mental health advocate Brandon Fullenkamp from Highland County was a guest on the Farmside Chat podcast with American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.Read More
A short play was designed to encourage attendees to discuss stress, the impacts of stress, and the resources available locally to deal with stress.Read More
The morning kicked off with an opportunity to speak with those gathered, network with multiple businesses and area agencies, and reconnect with old friends.Read More