Monday, May 06, 2019

Farmers increasingly stressed, dealing with mental health issues, according to new poll

Farmers and farmworkers were asked how much each factor impacts farmers' mental health (Morning Consult graph)
Though most of the American economy is booming, workers in rural areas, especially farmers and ranchers, are struggling financially, and that's taking a toll on their mental health, according to a new Morning Consult poll sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"We all know how stressful farm life can be, and things are even tougher now because of the farm economy. More of us are affected, either directly or by having a friend or family member in distress. This poll proves what we already knew anecdotally: Rural America is hurting not just economically but also emotionally," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.

"Farmers and farmworkers surveyed said financial issues (91%), farm or business problems (88%) and fear of losing the farm (87%) impact farmers’ mental health. Other factors included stress, weather, the economy, isolation and social stigma," AFBF reports. Additionally, "Large majorities of rural Americans polled agreed that cost, social stigma and embarrassment would make it harder for them to seek help or treatment for mental health conditions."

The stress is increasing, too. About 41% of respondents said stress and mental health issues have become more of a problem in their community in the past five years, 36% said they had become more of a problem in the past year, and 48% (especially younger rural adults) said they're personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago, Morning Consult reports. And, a plurality of farmers and farmworkers (32%) said it's somewhat difficult to access a therapist or counselor in their local community.

No comments: