Dealing with stressors on the farm is a learning process and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
This was a key takeaway from the Jan. 8 workshop on “Helping Farmers Cope with Stress and Anxiety,” held at the 2023 Federation of American Farmers Annual Meeting. Panelists discussed how farmers are coping with the ongoing anxieties they face on their farms and how they can seek help.
The speaker highlighted the results of research conducted by the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at Mercer University in collaboration with the Georgia Agriculture Foundation. The organization surveyed farm owners, farm managers, and farm workers about what causes them the most stress.
“Sixty-one percent of farmers report balancing home and work, weather and farm impacts as their top stressors,” says Stephanie, a research assistant at the Innovation Center for Rural Health in Georgia. Basey explains. “Savings, retirement, unexpected financial burdens and succession planning are the top stressors for all farmers who completed this study.”
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The report reveals that stressors vary by farmer’s age, gender, race, experience and role on the farm. Farm women, for example, identified balancing family and work life as their number one stressor.
“First-generation farmers report that financial problems cause a lot of stress,” explains Basey. “At least half of them are lonely, sad, depressed, and dissatisfied with their role at least once a month. I think about suicide once.”
Panelists said farming communities should find healthy ways to cope. Having fun, talking to friends and family, and praying. Many turn to more harmful methods, such as resorting to alcohol.
Matt Berry, a first-generation farmer in Georgia who owns CB Farms LLC and Dixie Ricks Industries Inc. with his wife, Alicia, says finding a mentor and getting social support can help when he’s struggling. It is said that it will be
“I have a friend who calls … we offer advice back and forth,” Matt said. To do means something.”
Spouses of farmers also play an important role in providing support.
“You can see these stressors firsthand,” said Alicia, speaking of how farmers depend on their spouses. She said, “Being there for your spouse, listening to them, just being there…I think that’s the most important thing we can do.”
According to panelists, it’s never too early to seek help, and resources are available for farmers struggling with stress and anxiety, such as AFBF’s Farm State of Mind directory and AgriSafe’s mental health first aid training. increase. The workshop also outlined how farmers can discuss stress and anxiety with their doctors.
“Unfortunately, many health care providers are not connected to farming communities or farming communities, so they do not understand when treatment plans are developed and how they affect farmers,” said family member Amy. Mr Johnson said. Nurse Practitioner, President of Centra Medical Group and Bedford County Farm Bureau. “It’s important to let their providers know of your responsibilities and commitments on the farm. You can work with them to develop a treatment plan that works within your daily schedule.”