By Julie Tomascik

Those in the agriculture, forestry and commercial fishing industries continually face high levels of stress, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted suicide rates are higher for the agricultural community.

To help address the need for stress assistance within the agricultural community, the Southwest Center for Agriculture Health, Injury Prevention, and Education (SW Ag Center) partnered with AgriSafe Network and the Texas Department of Agriculture to launch resources.

Those resources are available on the SW Ag Center webpage. The AgriStress Helpline for Texans also launched, and those who wish to access it for immediate assistance can call 833.897.2474.

Not only is it crucial for the agriculture, forestry and commercial fishing industries to have resources at their disposal during a crisis but to also know what stress looks like in themselves and others,

“Simply put, essential workers need essential mental health resources. Yet, when resources are made available, some rural residents do not access them due to barriers like cost, location and stigma,” a SW Ag Center news release stated.

A study recently released by the American Farm Bureau Federation noted a majority of rural adults (52%) and farmers/farm workers (61%) are experiencing more stress and mental health challenges compared to a year ago, and they are seeking care because of increased stress.

The study showed the stigma around seeking help or treatment for mental health has decreased, but it remains a factor, particularly in agriculture.

“It’s up to each of us to keep looking out for our family, friends and neighbors and let them know they’re not alone when they feel the increasing stress that comes with the daily business of farming and ranching,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a news release earlier this year.

Access the resources from the SW Ag Center here.

If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally or has concerns about their stress levels or mental health, visit the Farm State of Mind website at farmstateofmind.org for information on crisis hotlines, treatment locators, tips for helping someone in emotional pain and ways to start a conversation and resources for managing stress, anxiety or depression.

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