; Combating Stress and Promoting Mental Health in Rural Agricultural Communities | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Combating Stress and Promoting Mental Health in Rural Agricultural Communities

Jacob Hadfield


In 2017, nearly 38,000 people of working age (16-64 years) in the United States died by suicide. Of the 38,000 people, 36.1% were represented in the agriculture field. While mental health is not often discussed in agriculture, it has become a widespread issue. Utah State University Extension has found that many agriculture producers are seeking help to combat stress, mental illness, and suicide. Although some resources exist, there are none specific for those on the rural farm and ranch.
A team of USU Extension faculty are working to create, develop, and fine-tune mental health resources specific to agricultural communities. A farmer/rancher focused one-hour workshop titled “The Biggest Asset is you!” was created to educate participant on mental health indicators, stress management, and help resources. In collaboration with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and County Extension Faculty, USU Extension presented the mental health workshop at five separate events. Evaluation data indicated that 104 participants gained knowledge from the workshop. In addition, 148 participants noted that they had already or that they were going to change their attitudes and behaviors towards mental health. To better understand how the USU Extension team can address future needs specific to rural stress and mental health, a statewide assessment is being administered. Survey results will be utilized to modify and enhance the workshop and available resources.
This presentation will highlight the USU Extension Rural Stress and Mental Health curriculum, showcase impacts and will discuss expressed needs for mental health resources among Utah agricultural communities.