Mental Health Awareness Month: Learn about how you can support mental health for farmers

In 2019, Washington farmers and their families are facing tough challenges – increased development pressures, economic uncertainties, and spring weather challenges have added to the normal stresses of farming. Barriers to getting help may be equally challenging. Where can farmers go for support to deal with these stressful times?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and King County is dedicated to supporting mental health for farmers this month and every month. Farmers are a high-risk population, with suicide rates consistently above those of the general population. Here are some resources which may help if you are a farmer who needs to talk to someone, or you are someone who is worried about a farmer:

  • The U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers are doing important outreach and research and improve mental health in agricultural communities. A list of ongoing mental health projects has been compiled, which includes projects completed by the University of Washington, Pacific Northwest Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. See the full list of projects below:

https://gpcah.public-health.uiowa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/US-Ag-Centers-Mental-Health-Activities-3.pdf

  • Chronic, prolonged stress can lead to anxiety and depression. Check out the link below to read about the signs and symptoms of stress and to learn what you can to do recognize the signs and symptoms in yourself or someone you know.

English version

https://gpcah.public-health.uiowa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Stress-Signs-and-Symptoms-Poster-customizable.pdf

Español 

https://gpcah.public-health.uiowa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Stress-Signs-and-Symptoms-Poster-SPANISH-3.pdf

  • Do you want to support mental health for farmers? Check out the infographic below, and hang it in your office or at home as a constant reminder of the steps you or your loved ones can take to reduce stress.

https://gpcah.public-health.uiowa.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Mental-health-Infographic.pdf

  • In addition, WSU Skagit County Extension has a resource rich website available for agricultural workers experiencing extreme stress. You can visit their website here.
  • Are you interested in reading more about Washington State’s suicide prevention plan? Check out the link below.

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/631-058-SuicidePrevPlan.pdf

suicide prevention

Are you having suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts by themselves aren’t dangerous, but how you respond to them can make all the difference. Support is available.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255. Press 1 for the Veterans Helpline. If you’re under 21, you can ask to talk to a peer at Teen Link.

Don’t feel like talking on the phone? Try Lifeline Crisis Chat (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp/lifelinechat.aspx) or the Crisis Text Line by texting “HEAL” to 741741.

If you might be at risk of suicide again, download the My3 App from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can use the app to list your crisis contacts, make a safety plan and use emergency resources. For more information: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp/my3-app.aspx

Are you concerned someone else might be at risk of suicide?

This person is fortunate you’re paying attention. Here are five easy steps you can take to help:

  1. Look for warning signs. Some common warning signs of suicide risk include hopelessness, dramatic mood changes, withdrawing from friends and family, uncontrolled anger, acting reckless, and increased alcohol or drug use.
  2. Show you care. This looks different depending on who you are and your relationship, but let the person know you have noticed something has changed and it matters to you. If appropriate, let them tell you how they’re feeling and why.
  3. Ask the question. Make sure you both understand whether this problem is about suicide. “Are you thinking about suicide?”
  4. Restrict access to lethal means. Help the person remove dangerous objects and substances from the places they live and spend time.
  5. Get help. This person may know who they want to talk to (a faith leader, a doctor, a therapist, their guardian, their partner). You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255.

Don’t feel like talking on the phone? Try Lifeline Crisis Chat (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp/lifelinechat.aspx) or the Crisis Text Line by texting “HEAL” to 741741.

These resources have been provided by Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health and Washington State Department of Health.


Leave a Reply