COLUMBIA, Mo. — Harvest brings joy and pressure for Missouri farmers, says University of Missouri Extension safety and health specialist Karen Funkenbusch.
Farming is tough physical work sunup to sundown, rain or shine, day in and day out. It is also tough mental work, Funkenbusch says. The stress of weather, markets and other issues beyond a farmer’s control can weigh heavily and lead to depression, anxiety and suicide. Debt, illness and injury or other factors also add to pressures.
Funkenbusch says National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 15-21, is a good time to look for signs of depression if irritability, fatigue and lack of interest in work and everyday activities seem abnormal.
“Farmers, because of their strong and independent nature, often are reluctant to talk about these issues,” Funkenbusch says. “Fortunately, resources are available. If you need help or know of someone who needs help, reach out.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-273-8255.
- Information about depression, National Institute of Mental Health.
- Finding treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Grants and loans for farmers, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Missouri AgrAbility, www.agrability.missouri.edu
— Linda Geist, University of Missouri Extension
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