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New Resources for Stress Management Available to Texas Ag Communities

Rachel Hart

April 21, 2022

The stresses of the pandemic era have become an all-too-familiar part of daily life, posing challenges to workers in virtually every industry. Those in the agriculture community are no exception, facing rising costs and an unstable market, thrown against a stark backdrop of uncertainty for which the COVID crisis is so well known. As members of the agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing industries fight to keep food on American tables, new services are coming online to help navigate the hurdles of day-to-day stress management. 

According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates are notably higher for the agricultural community in comparison to other industries. To help address this worrying trend, the SW Ag Center has partnered with AgriSafe Network and the Texas Department of Agriculture to provide stress management resources for the Texas agricultural community. 

A press release from the SW Ag Center highlights the crucial need for such services as well as their social normalization, stating: 

“Simply put, essential workers need essential mental health resources. Yet, when resources are made available, some rural residents do not access them due to barriers like cost, location, and stigma.” 

This sentiment is backed by a report from the American Farm Bureau Federation, which recently found that the majority of rural adults (52%) and agricultural workers (61%) are experiencing increased levels of stress and mental health challenges compared to just one year ago. While the stigma surrounding mental health care appears to be dwindling, many remain hesitant to reach out to service providers. 

“It’s up to us to keep looking out for our family, friends, and neighbors and let them know they’re not alone when they feel the increasing stress that comes with the daily business of farming and ranching,” says AFBF President, Zippy Duvall. 

The new resource program is available via the SW Ag Center website, alongside a newly launched AgriStress Helpline for Texan farmers. Those in need of immediate assistance may contact the helpline by calling 833.897.2474.

If you or someone you know is struggling with emotional or mental health challenges, visit https://www.fb.org/land/fsom for additional information on treatment locations, crisis hotlines, and tips on how to manage anxiety, depression, and stress.