Resources available to assist farmers with mental health

Oftentimes in rural communities, when a neighbor is in need, farmers are the first to step up and help. Yet when they’re the ones in need of assistance, they hesitate to ask for that same help they so freely give.

Spring can be a stressful time for some area farmers as they prepare for another growing season, and that stress can have a negative effect on their mental health. That’s why officials at Gundersen Health System say farmers need to focus on themselves and reach out when feeling overwhelmed by the demands of their work – even if that’s something they’re not inclined to do.

Fortunately, there are several mental health resources geared specifically toward farmers, as well as those anyone can access. Organizations such the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation supports farmers facing stress due to low market prices, poor weather and other factors.

However, farmers – and anyone – who seeks mental health support can start with their primary care physicians at any Gundersen clinic location. These providers are often the first people to notice signs of mental distress,. However, family and friends would do well to check in on a farmer they know – maybe over a cup of coffee – just to see how they’re doing. Notice if you see a change in mood, or if the person verbalizes stressors in life.

To seek mental health assistance, contact Gundersen Waukon Clinic at 563-568-3000.