Several groups in Ohio recently announced an alliance that will focus on mental health in agriculture.
Ty Higgins with the Ohio Farm Bureau says the goal is to ensure Ohio’s farmers, families, and communities, along with mental health professionals are equipped to deal with the stress that comes with farming. “If a farmer were to call them up and ask for help because of the markets, or Mother Nature or an equipment breakdown or family issues, we all know that happens a lot in agriculture, will that mental health professional understand and all the idiosyncrasies that come along with the challenges in agriculture,” he says. “Probably not.”
He tells Brownfield Ohio State University will assist in training mental health professionals across the state about agriculture. Higgins says it starts with an anonymous survey seeking feedback directly from rural communities. “This conversation is going to continue for not just months, but years down the road,” he says. “We will take the initial survey results and find out where those resources are needed.”
He says addressing mental healthcare needs in rural communities won’t stop after the survey.