Rural Issue

More emphasis needed on rural mental health

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports farm laborers and owners have the highest rate of deaths due to stress which is why Michigan State University Extension director Jeff Dwyer says they’ve been expanding its mental health resources in rural communities.

“We know we can’t control the weather, but we can help farmers and farm families take control of how they deal with the weather and other challenges.”         

In the last year, MSUE has trained professionals in 22 states and programs are now offered in 17 additional states with seven more currently undergoing training.

“Our unique combination of mental health assistance, financial management, and production education is in direct response to the current crisis, but this work is long overdue and will not end when this year ends.”

MSUE is also requesting $500,000 from USDA to support The North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network which will combine similar efforts from the University of Illinois, South Dakota State University, and Purdue University to help grow resources for farmers.

Dwyer’s comments during Michigan House and Senate Ag Committee Hearing

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