If you have chest pains, you go to the heart doctor. Your mental health shouldn’t be treated any differently. If you need to talk to someone about your mental health struggles, resources are available through the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team.
“Our goal is to reduce the number of farm suicides across the state of Indiana but also to reduce that stigma surrounding mental health,” says Abby Heidenreich, Ag & Natural Resources Extension Educator in Orange County and member of the Purdue Farm Stress Team.
She says the team is a group of educators who have come together in an effort to open up the conversation of mental health in agriculture and reduce the stigma surrounding farmer stress and the help for getting rid of that stress.
“What we do is we get together and put on programs, that’s what we do as educators, we put on programs that talk about stress, talk about how you can recognize stress in yourself and others, talk about what stress can do to your body, and how you can combat that stress a little bit. Some things that you can do to help reduce your stress levels. In agriculture, it’s a very high stress job. That’s no secret. It doesn’t need to be a secret that it’s stressful and that there’s some help out there for the stress.”
Heidenreich explains that they have a couple of programs they teach, each focused on the health and well-being of farmers.
“We have a one-hour program for farmers and farm families on how to recognize stress in each other. We also have a four-hour program designed for agribusinesses to teach them how to recognize farm stress in their customers and what to do when you notice farm stress and the negative impacts of it.”
They can also design a program that will meet the needs of your community.
“A lot of times we come into a community that has recently experienced a farm suicide or has been shaken by some kind of a mental health related event and do some crisis response. So, there’s a lot of different things that we can do as a team to come in and help.”
Heidenreich says you are not alone. If you need help, reach out to the Purdue Farm Stress Team to learn about available resources. Visit extension.purdue.edu/farmstress.
Hear my full interview with Heidenreich below.