If you work in a rural community, there is something you need to be aware of. For the most part, farmers are hurting. I am not talking about poor harvests, lack of technology. Farmers have a significantly large suicide rate. At the present time, we do not know how large, as the CDC has retracted numbers on their last study, deeming “coding errors” as the culprit. FarmAid has released a statement that they are going to continue to push for resources to help farmers with resources in this area. Several lawmakers are working on a legislative piece to add to the farm bill to provide mental health resources.
Regardless of the numbers, here is what I can tell you. One is too many.
I can also tell you that it is going to take whole communities to rally around these families. Churches are going to have to be a part of the solution. These people are parents and grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, spouses. It is not just a farm that suffers when a farmer finally succumbs to the stress and commits suicide. It creates ripples throughout the whole family and community.
Take the time to listen. look for warning signs. Help them to get the help that is needed before it is too late.