Farmer Angel Network Works To Address Mental Health In Rural America
A generation ago, mental health was a taboo subject in the farming community. However, in 2021, mental health in rural America is discussed more openly and honestly. Randy Roecker with the Farmer Angel Network, took part in a panel discussion during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Virtual Convention, called "Farm State of Mind". He said addressing mental health is a community effort.
“One of the things we discussed too was the warning signs, what to look for. A person let their appearance go, either ate a lot or not enough, didn’t sleep, slept too much, there’s all these signs, and you just don’t care anymore. These are the warning signs that you have to look at for. And the biggest thing is just talk or listen to your neighbors, go over there and see how they are doing and just listen to how they are doing and just have a good visit with them.”
Roecker said there are many ways to start the conversation about mental health.
“Through the Farm Bureau organization, you can go to farmstateofmind.org and that refers to a lot of different places that you can get help. And it’s not just of course agriculture. With COVID now, you think of the restaurant workers and other small businesses that are really struggling a lot and mental health is going to be a very big issue. And what happens is children see their parents struggling, so that’s going to be the next problem that we have.”
Roecker formed the Farmer Angel Network over a year ago to provide an open form for farmers to talk about farm stress, mental health and suicide. To learn more about their efforts, check out the Farmer Angel Network Facebook Page.
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