Mental Health Matters: Farmers and mental health

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(ABC 6 News) – Every Thursday this month, we’re talking about mental health and why it’s so important.

Today, we’re taking a look at farmers and mental health.

“It’s a life that a lot of people live, it’s a life you really cant escape,” Nick Schiltz, agricultural instructor at Riverland Community College said.

Farmers have demanding jobs, they do it all and have to be an expert in their field to keep their business alive.

This is their life.

“We need to take care of the backbone of our economy, and of our society, which is agriculture. We talk about all these new things coming out and it’s very exciting. But how often do we talk about its resources? The people,” Schiltz said.

According to Rural Health Information Hub, Farmers have experienced significant economic stressors including falling commody prices, natural disasters, increasing levels of farm debt, labor shortages, and trade disputes.

Schiltz says Farmers keep tabs on one another, but having a conversation about those struggles is a struggle itself.

“We don’t always see depression, we don’t see loneliness, we don’t always see those cognitive psychological issues that a lot of people deal with until they come up,” Schiltz said.

This is the number for the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline.

(833) 600-2670

It’s a free and confidential.

It’s one of the many programs the Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers to get farmers the help they need.

“We have mental health specialists who specialize in working with farmers and farm families. They know about farmers and have a deep background in agriculture,” Meg Moynihan, senior advisor for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture said.

As a farmer herself, Meg advocates for mental health. When you need help, reachout.

“As a dairy farmer, I’ve had some really dark days. I’m proud to work for a department of agriculture that invests in the people who are farming,” Moynihan said.

Joshua Jensen with Zumbro Valley Health Center agrees, talking the step to talk to someone goes a long way.

“We can sit around and manage and we’d be just fine. But the light at the end of the tunnel is when we experience adversity, there’s that capacity for growth,” Jensen said.

Josh is a Mobile Crisis Coordinator. He oversees a program that gives you the option to talk to someone over the phone or in person.

“We’re really going to try and push and meet folks in the home,” Jensen said.

And for Nick, no matter what road you take to get the help you need, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It does get better. The sun will eventually come out tomorrow, the rain storm will end,” Schiltz said.

Mental Health Matters Coverage

For more information on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Mental Health Resources, visit HERE.

For more information on Zumbro Valley Health Center Mobile Crisis, visit HERE.