Farmers and Suicide Prevention

Farming can be stressful in the best of times. Financial worries, unpredictable weather, plant pests, livestock diseases, and isolation all contribute to farmers’ anxiety. Severe depression and suicidal thoughts can be common in our day and age. If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody else, help is available.

Many of the factors that affect agricultural production are largely beyond the control of the producer. Good
health, including mental health, is a key factor that contributes to one’s ability to keep farming.
Twenty percent of any population has mental health complications, including farmers and ranchers. Stigma and
privacy concerns associated with mental health issues may mean that many people do not seek out available
behavioral health services.

For agricultural populations, stressful events might include:

  • Financial concerns (ie: equipment purchases, borrowing for farm operations, mortgages or rent, insurance)
  • Personal or family concerns (ie: death of someone close, illness,marital relationships, family demands)
  • Work-related injuries
  • Change in farm policies
  • Chemical exposure
  • Loss of crop or livestock
  • Weather

Warning Signs indicating a person may be at risk to harm self or others include:

  • Talk of suicide
  • Changes in sleep and/or eating patterns
  • Stopped taking medication as prescribed or hoarding medication
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Making last arrangements, giving away possessions
  • Obtaining firearms
  • Withdrawal from family, friends and routines that were pleasurable
  • Aggressive and disruptive behavior
  • Increased irritability and criticism
  • History of suicide of family member or friend

For Publications about this population:

Agricultural Producers & Stress — When Do You Need a Counselor?
By Randy Weigel, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.

The Personal Nature of Agriculture: Men Seeking Help
By Randy Weigel, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.
Explores how men’s upbringing makes seeking help a challenge, the social and family barriers to seeking help and the characteristics of helping professionals who work well with men reluctant to seek help and what men can do to help themselves.

STRESS Act Introduced to Address Farmer Suicide

By Natlina Sents, Successful Farming at Agriculture.com

 

Are you feeling desperate, alone or hopeless?

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Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

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Or text TN to 741741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line and a trained counselor.

If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody else, call the crisis hotline to be connected to your closest crisis center. This information can be found in our Regional Information Tab