New campaign brings awareness to Kentucky farmer’s mental health
UNION COUNTY, Ky. (WFIE) - Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture, Ryan Quarles, says there are several unique stressors that farmers face every day that people in cities may not understand.
Debt, extreme weather, isolation, and especially the increasing input costs this year, are just a few challenges that can weigh on farmer’s mind.
Even with those constant challenges, farmers still have a demanding responsibility to put food on people’s tables.
Farming requires long hours of physical labor, but a portion of the job brings unique stressors that can take a toll on a farmer’s mental health.
That’s why The Kentucky Department of Agriculture created the Raising Hope Campaign to bring awareness to the need for mental health resources for farmers.
“Farming is a high risk occupation,” said Commissioner Quarles. “Often times people in the cities don’t understand the mental stress farmers may go through and so our Raising Hope campaign is founded on the fact that we know mental health issues everywhere in America, but we need special focus on rural America.”
Commissioner Quarles says financial stress often hurts a farmer the most.
Each year farmers put all their money in to get their seeds in the ground, but they often don’t get to recoup those investments until harvest later in the year.
This year’s high input costs creates an even bigger strain on a farmers wallet.
Union County farmers, Ryan White and his daughter Mallory, say they know firsthand what it’s like to face these struggles as a family and they want to remind others that there’s no shame in seeking help.
“Well, farmers are really proud people,” said Ryan. “We don’t like to ask for help. For us it’s a mental thing, as producers, we have to get over that and realize that, you know, we’re living in the modern world and we have issues like everyone else.”
Farmers are always at the mercy of Mother Nature and the economy, while constantly feeling pressure of feeding a growing population.
Mallory says utilizing the Raising Hope Campaign’s resources can be an easy step towards getting help.
“You know farmers can face challenges with all this time to think and all these added pressures, not only from themselves and their ability to provide for their families, but also their ability to provide for the world that’s demanding a lot from them,” said Mallory. “So, it takes taking the first step in recognizing that we are living in a world where this is rising to the surface and more people are accepting and willing to help.”
Commissioner Quarles says the goal of the Raising Hope campaign is to enhance the quality of life for farmers and farm families, because he says he knows how stressful the job can be.
If you or someone you know could benefit from these resources, call 800-273-TALK, text “KY” to 741741, or visit the Raising Hope Campaign website.
Resources are also available in other mental wellness stories in our Peace of Mind section on 14news.com.
Copyright 2022 WFIE. All rights reserved.