Resources are available for farmers under stress
A farmer wellness coordinator says more farmers are reaching out for help to stay well mentally.
Karen Endres is a dairy farmer and serves as Wisconsin’s Farmer Wellness Coordinator working closely with the Wisconsin Farm Center. She tells Brownfield there is one primary cause for not feeling well. “A lot of times in farming, it’s just stress and as a farmer, what do we like to do? We like to fix it, so we try to fix it ourselves or we hold it in and we don’t let anybody know about it, so I think it’s so important that we can just get out and talk to someone.”
Endres says she and other service providers don’t want problems to get to the extreme where the farmer might take his or her own life because of the stresses of farming.
She tells Brownfield many states offer similar services to help farmers deal with stress and depression. One available service is their 24-7 hotline so farmers can reach out to someone, and she says Tele counseling is a popular option used by farmers. “Maybe you don’t have time to go in, or you have that stigma of mental health and you don’t want to go to the local counselor on Main Street. This is an option. You can just pick up your phone and we can get an appointment set up, and you can do telecounseling, so it’s more about offering programs and services that can meet a farmer where they’re at.”
Endres says farmers that need assistance should reach out to their state’s ag department or search their ag department’s website. She says farmers should not hesitate to contact an out-of-state resource because those centers can help get farmers lined up with counseling and resources closer to them.
Wisconsin is one of the states that also offers counseling vouchers for farmers that want to see a local counselor.