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SafetyEpisode 165

Tips for coping with farm stress

Matthew Wilde
May 7, 2024

Learning how to manage stress during busy seasons on the farm is beneficial to overall health and safety. Tara Haskins, total farmer health director and mental health expert with AgriSafe, provides mental health resources for farmers and tips for maintaining overall health.

AgriSafe focus

AgriSafe, a national nonprofit organization, works to improve agricultural health and safety. It provides educational training and resources to health and safety professionals to help them deliver exceptional occupational agricultural health care.

Haskins says enhancing preventive care services for farm families and communities will improve quality of life and help future generations.

Prioritize mental health

Farm and ranch work can be stressful. The first step to good mental health, Haskins says, is taking care of yourself physically. She recommends getting adequate sleep and seeking help from a health care provider to do so, if needed. Eating healthy meals at regular intervals is also advised.

If stress or worry become a concern, Haskin says, don’t let problems fester.

“We know individuals who seek help early have less severe symptoms and concerns later,” she adds. “If you are already receiving mental health treatment, stay with it and continue taking prescribed medication. If you have concerns about your treatment, go to your health care provider to find another solution.”

Staying connected with loved ones and the community is also important for good mental health, she says.

AgriSafe partnership

The CHS Foundation partners with AgriSafe to provide funding for mental health programs to help farmers and workers manage stress.

Haskins says foundation funding helped developed more programming and boost attendance for the AgriSafe Mental Health Innovation Exchange. Participation in the free monthly meetings – individuals share innovative mental health programming in their area – has grown from about 15 to 65-80 people per session. More rural residents are being helped as a result, Haskins says.

“Mental Health practitioners hear good ideas and put them to use in their communities,” Haskins says.

CHS Foundation funding also allowed AgriSafe to offer two suicide prevention webinars in 2024. Watch recorded mental health webinars.

“The webinars had huge attendance, which tells me individuals are looking for information about preventing suicides and to help those impacted by it,” Haskins continues.

The foundation also provided funding for training to prevent opioid deaths in rural communities and suicides using lethal means.

Mental health resources

Mental health resources are available at the federal, state and county level, Haskins says. AgriSafe partners with many public entities.

Here are a few resources:

Read more about how suicide affected one farm family and how survivors are working to prevent suicide from affecting other families.

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