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Farm Suicides are at an Alarming Rate, We need to Talk
June 28, 2018

Farmers are killing themselves at an alarming rate. There, I said it. It’s a topic that no one wants to talk about but is becoming a bigger deal every single day. What’s happening in the farming community is completely preventable. It’s suicide. I saw today that a farmer is 5 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person. I also saw in a group when the question was asked if you knew anyone who had committed suicide, there was very few who responded “no”. I do know someone, and am not alone.

There are so many factors that lead up to the reasons why. I could talk all day about low prices, export wars, market uncertainty, and on and on but that won’t even scratch the surface of the tremendous amount of stress farmers are under. Farmers are receiving letters in their milk checks with suicide prevention phone numbers to call so this is a serious issue.

Current numbers show that 75-80% of farms have at least one person working off the farm, to feed their own families. Yes, farmers have to have another job to provide for their own families. With this added pressure becomes depression, anxiety, fatigue that affects everyone in a family. Farmers are known for their pride and hard work, however, when it comes to asking for help, they have a real hard time doing that. In rural communities mental health services are scarce and let’s face it, with no insurance or inadequate insurance those services are harder to get.

So many rely on each other for support in hard times and I am finding more open conversations going on in these groups. At the end of the day, my advice to anyone who is having a tough time is to talk. To someone, anyone who will listen. Whether it be a total stranger or close friend/family member. It’s never ever too late to get help. Together we have to look out for each other and support each other to get through these times. Reach out and be there for each other. These times won’t last forever, there is always a rainbow after the storm. And your family loves and needs you.

By Guest Blogger: Michelle Eilenstine

To see a copy of the letter sent out by Agri-Mark, a co-operative with 1000 members in the Eastern US, regarding milk prices and suicide prevention click Here: Agri-Mark letter

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to an organization like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. With over 161 crisis centers around the US and a 24/7 toll free number, they are willing and equipped to help anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Click Here or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 



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