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Pa Farming Agri-Stress

Mental health issues dominate a growing number of factors in our workplaces and that includes the farming industry.

However, a recent survey of farmers shows that mental health outreach programs, often times, are not the first option when asking for help.

The demands in farming are relentless, with challenges ranging from weather to the economy often changing.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture launched a crisis hotline for farmers called AgriStress.

At the annual Ag Progress Days event in August, a survey of nearly 700 people in agriculture-related industries showed that nearly 90-percent recognized mental health as either very, or moderately, important.

But like responses in many other occupations, when those respondents in the farming community were asked who they talk to about their mental health, the overwhelming answer was their spouse or family members.

Only twelve percent said they talked to a doctor, and even less said they met with a counselor.

“What has really been interesting is the stories I’ve seen since Ag Progress Days. Individuals coming forth to tell their stories, to remind folks these are human beings and how do we manage stress. The stigma is that it’s a societal issue, but in Ag, we think we’re all strong. The reality is we need help.”

According to the Pennsylvania Animal Agriculture Mental Wellness Survey, the top stress issues for farmers are financial and weather, along with long hours and working conditions.

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