It is a fact. Farmers are under stress. According to the American Psychological Association, many farmers are under intense stress. They note that calls to Farm Aid’s farmer hotline increased by 100% between 2017 and 2018. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 111 million people live in areas with shortages of access to mental health professionals.
To help establish a new structure to combat the problems caused by stress and compounded by isolation or lack of access to services, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Health (NIFA) has earmarked $1.92 million in four competitive grants to provide farmers, ranchers and agri-related workers with stress assistance programs. Projects were awarded to four regional entities to help launch the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
In a press release, NIFA director, J. Scott Angle said, “This program sets the long-term foundation for a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network that will provide stress assistance programs to individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations on a regional basis. Our farmers, ranchers, and producers need help and programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health assistance and referral for other forms of support, as necessary.”
The FRSAN program will accept applications for Regional Networks. The long-term goal of the FRSAN projects is to establish a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network that provides stress assistance programs to individuals who are engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations on a regional basis.
Network members must initiate, expand, or sustain programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance as necessary through the following:
- Farm telephone helplines and websites;
- Training including training programs and workshops;
- Support groups
- Outreach services and activities, including the dissemination of information and materials.
For more information, visit Farm and Ranch Stress Assistant Network.
(Photo Credit: Iowa State University)
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