New alliance addresses mental healthcare in ag

Several groups in Ohio recently announced an alliance that will focus on mental health in agriculture.

Ty Higgins with the Ohio Farm Bureau says the goal is to ensure Ohio’s farmers, families, and communities, along with mental health professionals are equipped to deal with the stress that comes with farming.  “If a farmer were to call them up and ask for help because of the markets, or Mother Nature or an equipment breakdown or family issues, we all know that happens a lot in agriculture, will that mental health professional understand and all the idiosyncrasies that come along with the challenges in agriculture,” he says.  “Probably not.”

He tells Brownfield Ohio State University will assist in training mental health professionals across the state about agriculture.  Higgins says it starts with an anonymous survey seeking feedback directly from rural communities.  “This conversation is going to continue for not just months, but years down the road,” he says.  “We will take the initial survey results and find out where those resources are needed.”

He says addressing mental healthcare needs in rural communities won’t stop after the survey. “But we’re going to get hopefully more people to take that free training to be farm stress and mental health certified,” he says. “Getting more people information on how to train themselves to see the signs, to understand what to look for when someone might be struggling, and then to be able to get them in the right direction to find the help they need before it’s too late.”

The alliance was announced during the recent Ohio Farm Science Review.  Higgins says the survey will remain open until at least the end of the year. 

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), The Ohio State University (OSU), Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB), Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and Farm Credit Mid-America make up the new Ohio Agricultural Mental Health Alliance (OAMHA).

A link to the survey can be found HERE.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides residents with one, easy-to-remember number to call when they or someone they know is in crisis. On average, more than 12,000 Ohioans per month who are experiencing or affected by suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crises have used the lifeline to receive free, 24/7, confidential support and connections to local resources.

AUDIO: Ty Higgins, Ohio Farm Bureau

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!

Brownfield Ag News