What is meant by the term mental health? Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Every bit as important as our physical health, mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being.
Anyone who is involved in the agriculture industry knows how demanding and stressful this way of life is. The number of factors affecting our success in this profession are not only numerous, but often out of our control as well. Things like financial pressure, supply chain issues, extreme weather events, commodity pricing, natural disasters, a worldwide pandemic and more add so much stress to our lives and can become overwhelming.
Are you struggling with your mental health right now? Is your farm manager? Your employee? Your spouse? Your child? How do you know?
The American Farm Bureau (AFB) has compiled a wide array of resources for ag professionals on the topic of mental health. With the theme “A healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you,” and a social media hashtag of #FarmStateofMind, AFB takes this topic very seriously and is committed to providing concrete suggestions.
Please visit AFB's Farm State of Mind website. You will find warning signs to look for in folks who may be, including:
Change in routines or social activities
Decline in the care of domestic animals
Increase in illness or other chronic conditions
Increase in farm accidents
Decline in appearance of the farmstead
Decreased interest in activities or events
Signs of stress in children including struggles with school
Additionally, you’ll find tips for talking about the topic, a directory of mental health resources and so much more. Encourage your family, friends and employees to visit the website as well. If you think you, or someone you know, may need help, this website is the perfect place to start to learn how to open a dialogue or to know what next steps to take.
Mental health struggles have historically been stigmatized in this country, perhaps even more so in rural and farming communities. AFB conducted a research poll, discussed on the website linked above, that shows this is lessening and people are more willing to discuss and address their struggles. And that is a VERY good thing, because the stressors aren’t going anywhere.
We are all about soil health here at CCSI. And, like the American Farm Bureau, we recognize that the healthiest of farm ground is nothing without a healthy YOU. Take care of yourselves, and each other.
Northern Program Manager