According to a recent study from the American Farm Bureau Federation, over 90 percent of American farmers and farm workers say financial issues impact their mental health and cause stress. Many other factors can also contribute to high stress levels among farmers, from social isolation to marital difficulties.
The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working together to connect farmers and their families to mental health resources in Minnesota. Below, you’ll find tips from UMASH and MDA on how to identify stress and where to go for help.
Sings and Symptoms of Stress
- Worrying about things you didn’t worry about before
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Poor concentration, confusion, forgetfulness
- Uncertainty or trouble making decisions
- Relationship problems
- Sad mood
- Feeling anxious
- Change in personality, irritability
- Negative thinking
- Wanting to withdraw from people and activities
- Increase smoking and/or drinking
- Poor or disturbed sleep
- Weight loss or gain
- Changes in appetite
- Stomach or gastrointestinal problems
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Chest pain
- Poor hygiene
What can you do?
- Reach out to a loved one. Talk about how you are feeling.
- Talk to your friends, clergy, or a medical provider.
- Reach out to a mental health counselor.
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline
833-600-2670 x 1
Free, confidential, 24/7. This call center is located in Minnesota. Calls are answered by trained staff and volunteers. If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts — call. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to somebody you don’t know.
Ted Matthews, Rural Mental Health Counselor
Ted works with farmers across the entire state. No cost; no paperwork. The service is available thanks to funds from the Minnesota Legislature. Center of Agriculture Mental Health Outreach Brochure Program (PDF)
Mobile Crisis Teams
Available in every Minnesota county, mobile crisis team counselors can respond quickly and provide in-person, short-term counseling or mental health services during a crisis or emergency. Calls are answered immediately 24 hrs/day. Responders travel in private vehicles and generally arrive within 2 hours.
NAMI Minnesota is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. They offer information, classes, support groups, and suicide prevention training.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call: 800-273-8255 (Veterans, press 1)
Crisis Text Line
Text MN to 741 741
Both these numbers offer immediate free and confidential support for people in distress. They give information about prevention and crisis resources to people who are worried about themselves or someone else.