‘We must be there for them’: Kansas launches mental health website for farmers, ranchers
Manhattan, KS — The Kansas Department of Agriculture has created a website intended to provide resources and support for farmers and ranchers coping with ag-related stress and mental health issues.
“Market uncertainties, natural disasters, ongoing trade wars and other setbacks” – on top of other factors such as long workdays and financial and legal challenges – have “led to heightened focus on mental health issues in the agricultural community,” the department states in a Dec. 9 press release.
These factors can lead to mental and emotional distress, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and suicide. Between 1992 and 2010, the suicide rate among U.S. farmers and ranchers was 3.5 times greater than that of the general population, results of a University of Iowa study show.
“The increase in suicide rates among farmers and ranchers is alarming,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) said in the release. “We must do everything in our power to curb this trend. We must provide our farmers and ranchers alternatives to suicide. We must be there for them.”
The website provides a link to mental health centers across the state, phone numbers to crisis and suicide prevention hotlines, and local and national resources for mental health. It also includes resources for ag workers’ family members and veterans who are farmers, as well as links to various financial, legal, employment, disaster and business assistance resources.
“Our hope is that it will be a positive resource for people struggling during difficult times,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam said in the release.