May is Mental Health Awareness Month: How are you doing?
By Lucinda Winter • Executive Director
Now that it’s finally safe to stop layering before heading outside, I’m hearing from both SFA staff and members that they are hitting it hard to make up for lost time this spring. May is such a busy time for farmers, especially so this year, and that can be stressful. I hope you can take a moment or two during the next few weeks to ask yourself “How am I doing?” and to reach our for help if you need it.
Minnesota has free mental health, stress, and crisis resources specifically for farmers. The Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline is open 24/7 and can be accessed by phone, text, and email. They field about 30,000 calls a year.
Text: FARMSTRESS to 898211
Ted Matthews and Monica McConkey are two Rural Mental Health Specialists on the other end of the Helpline that work with farmers across the state. It is free to call them, and there is no paperwork involved. You can find their numbers and a list of additional support programs here.
The Helpline website also includes information on assistance with food, heat, electricity, health care, and senior programs, as well as business, financial, and legal problems.
Additionally, 988 is the number to call or text for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, accessible in both English and Spanish. Veterans, press 1.
Our friends at the Women, Food and Agriculture Network just shared an interesting list of additional resources in their newsletter you might find helpful. Thanks to them for compiling this list.
- Elena Velez, founder of Community Restorative Trainings, led a stress reduction presentation and exercise during the 2022 WFAN Conference.
- Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture Webinars – Presented by University of Minnesota Extension and U-MASH.
- Check out ‘Cultivating Resilience,’ a podcast from Cultivemos, developed to bring together farmers & ranchers through mutual support.
- Check out HOP Mentor Caite Palmer and dairy farmer Arlene Hunter’s podcast Barnyard Language, where they talk about what it’s like to run farms and raise families.
- University of Minnesota Extension has a paper and presentation on rural community stress and offers strategies for building resilience.
- I-CASH (Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health) has a crisis resource brochure and information for relevant mental health training available on their website.
- The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers resources for mental healthcare, and an online guide to help you access care.
- The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network is a national network of resources and training to help equip people and organizations with effective mental healthcare delivery.
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