New Survey Finds Reduced Stigma Around Mental Health in Farmers
By: Sydney Sheffield
In encouraging news, a recent poll from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) indicates that farmers and those living in rural areas are more comfortable talking about stress and mental health. The poll also determined that stigma associated with seeking help or treatment has been reduced in these areas. The study was performed by a consulting group called Morning Consult on behalf of AFBF.
“Farm Bureau has been encouraging conversations to help reduce stigma around farmer stress and mental health through our Farm State of Mind campaign,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “This poll shows that we are making a difference, but we all still have work to do. It’s up to each of us to keep looking out for our family, friends, and neighbors and let them know they’re not alone when they feel the increased stress that comes with the daily business of farming and ranching.”
AFBF surveyed over 2,000 rural adults, farmers, and farmworkers to measure changes and trends in stigma, personal experiences with mental health, awareness of information about mental health resources, and comfort in talking about mental health with others. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was also examined and results were compared to previous surveys in 2019 and 2020.
The key findings were that the stigma around seeking help or treatment for mental health has decreased but is still a factor, particularly in agriculture, farmers/farmworkers are more comfortable talking to friends, family, and their doctors about stress and mental health than they were in 2019. Additionally, over 52% of rural adults and 61% of farmers and farmworkers are experiencing more stress and mental health challenges than in 2020, but they are seeking a cure because of the increased stress.
“Working in the agriculture industry can be difficult and stressful,” said Arizona Farm Bureau President Phil Bashaw. “Sometimes the responsibility that comes with caring for their land, animals, and families can be overwhelming. No one should have to carry this weight on their own when friends, communities, and resources exist to help. I am encouraged to know the efforts that make it easier for our members and rural communities to access assistance in shouldering these burdens are working.”
AFBF’s Farm State of Mind is a great resource for those interested in the survey or struggling with emotional stress and mental health. Interested parties can find more information on crisis hotlines, treatment locators, tips for helping someone in emotional pain, ways to start a conversation, and resources for managing stress, anxiety, or depression, because “a healthy farm or ranch is nothing without a healthy you.”
Read the full survey results here.