Farmers and Mental Health

Farming and ranching are incredibly demanding. Many producers spend their time taking care of their livestock and crops and dealing with the difficulties of such a large burden. It is important to recognize this job’s burden on farmers. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how they handle stress, work with others, and make healthy choices. 

Physical and Mental Burden 

Farming and ranching are filled with long hours, social isolation, and economic difficulties. Physical challenges can cause additional stress to farmers. Taking care of one’s body is important, or it can be another source of stress. If a farmer is dealing with an illness, it is important to take time to heal. It may be difficult if they do not have farm help, but the illness or physical issue can be much more damaging in the future. As we are seeing increasing difficulties within the economy, finances are another large area of stress. Recognizing that is important for consumers when looking for ways to support local producers. Farmers and ranchers are vital to feeding our nation, so every producer and their health is important. 

Social Isolation 

One area that many farmers deal with is social isolation. From working in the field to feeding animals, much of it is work that is done alone. If one doesn’t have family or friends nearby, isolating oneself is even easier. Making connections and spending time away from the farm with others is important. 

Supporting Farmers 

Here are a few ways you can help support farmers every day: 

  • Learn about the basics of agriculture and try to understand why they are passionate about what they do 
  • Purchase products from a farm and create a relationship with the farmers in your area 
  • Provide support in non-traditional ways during busy seasons, such as offering occasional childcare and bringing meals 
  • Support the fight to bring mental care services to rural areas 
  • Recognize symptoms of depression e.g. guilt, sadness, hopelessness, isolation, and physical symptoms of stress such as sleeplessness, panic attacks, and fatigue  

The farming and ranching communities are traditionally less open to discussing mental health and accepting support. It is important to break the stigma around mental health crises and support those in rural communities. Multiple studies show that farmer suicide rates are 2-5x higher than the national average. As less than 2% of our nation’s population is involved with agriculture production, we must do all we can to care for and protect them. 

If you are a farmer or rancher in need of help, check out the Farm Aid Hotline. They provide guidance with crisis assistance, disaster training, business planning, stress management, and many other areas. If you are dealing with unmanageable stress or considering suicide, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. 


APA-Supporting farmers’ mental wellness 

SF-Farmer Mental Health Deserves Your Attention 

TAMU Extension-Farm Families and Mental Health 

KOSU-Mental health among farmers is a concern, especially in the midst of turbulent weather and markets 

1 thought on “Farmers and Mental Health”

  1. The mental health of farmers in the agricultural community is a very widely unknown thing to the outside world. I know the few farmers I know struggle with their mental health from the stress and work load that they deal with on a daily biases.

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