In the agriculture sector, the mental health discussion has grown in a major way. However, there is still a lot of room left for improvement and an increase in resources and support.
This spring, radio stations across rural America joined Commodity Classic to highlight an issue important to all of us — managing the mental health issues facing farmers and rural America. Everyone felt the challenging times in society due to COVID. On the farm, things had been amplified by six years of tough economic conditions before the pandemic, and its changes emerged on the horizon. To raise awareness, National Corn Growers Association is offering access to the “Mental Health on the Farm” podcast created from the original program.
Highlighting real stories as well as resources, the podcast shares reassurance that those feeling the stress are not alone and that there are resources to help.
The podcast features mental health practitioners and counselors with strong ties to the farm and real-life perspectives on the issue from farmers Jason Meadows and NCGA Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team Chair Lowell Neitzel.
Neitzel, who farms in Kansas, says mental health is a very important topic after watching his father suffer for years with depression, dealing with depression and anxiety himself and seeing fellow farmers struggling as well.
“You know, as farmers, we’re supposed to be these tough guys. We just run hard all the time, and nothing can take us down. But, you know, we have so much worry and so much stuff on the plate that sometimes we can’t handle it all at once. It is refreshing to have people I look to in my community as role models and leaders to say, ‘hey, I’ve been in your position too, and it was really eye-opening and nice to hear that they’d been in my situation too and I wasn’t alone,’” Neitzel said.
To download or listen to the podcast, please click here.