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Ag puts a focus on Mental Health Awareness Month

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May is national Mental Health Awareness Month, and the National Farm Medicine Center has joined Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation to support rural residents in looking after their farm neighbors who might be struggling with increased stress. Through its #FarmNeighborsCare campaign, this coalition will be hosting webinars, promoting resources on social media, and running a campaign called Heroes of Hope to highlight rural heroes who have instilled hope in farmers and farm-related businesses with acts large and small.

“Farm Medicine is committed to giving farmers the resources and opportunities they need to reach out if they are struggling, or to help family and friends in need of mental health support,” said Dr. Casper Bendixsen, Director of the National Farm Medicine Center. “Farming is as much about physical wellness as it is about mental and emotional wellness.”

Did you know?

  • Studies over the past few decades have consistently found farmers and farmworkers at a higher risk of death by suicide compared to other occupational groups.
  • 91 percent of rural adults say mental health is important to them and their family.
  • 31 percent of rural adults have personally sought help for a mental health condition, and 24 percent have a family member who has sought care for a mental health condition.

Mental Health Webinars are scheduled from from noon to 1 p.m. May 12, 19, 26. To participate in the social media campaign and register for the webinars, visit the #FarmNeighborsCare webpage.

To nominate a Hero of Hope, visit their website. Who’s a hero? Somebody who helped another person through a tough time, perhaps assisting with harvest, delivering meals and generally “being there” to listen. Nominations will be accepted May 1 through May 21. One nominee will be recognized as the grand prize winner, and four nominees will be named runners-up, with prize packages provided by local sponsors.

The #FarmNeighborsCare coalition includes producer groups, Extension, health care providers and other organizations. 

When loved ones, neighbors or others you care about are experiencing mental health challenges, they may not even realize it. Visit Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation for tips on how to identify someone who might be at risk, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline available 24 hours a day with English and Spanish languages: 1-800-273-8255.

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