Farm Groups Continue To Monitor Trends With Rural Mental Health

Rural mental health continues to be a concern with producers facing storm challenges, a continuing trade war and low commodity prices. South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal says if you need help or know of someone who does, there is a rural helpline available in South Dakota….

“We’ve been concerned about rural mental health and doing everything we can to help people know where to go for help first of all. There’s a helpline available in South Dakota.”
The farm stress hotline number is 1—800—691—4336 and the Suicide Prevention line is 1—800—273—8255. VanderWal also says its important neighbors watch out for each other. He says it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help…

“The key is to visit with your neighbors, watch your neighbors. If you see them acting differently, showing signs of depression, things like that. Certainly get them help. The thing about farmers and ranchers is, we’re very private, we’re very, very proud and some people see that needing help like that is a sign of weakness and it really isn’t because it can happen to anybody, but…as farmers and ranchers are the last ones to ask for help a lot of times.”
VanderWal says besides those producers going through stress, another concern of the Farm Bureau is younger farmers and ranchers trying to make it through this tough economic time…

“We’ve got quite a generation of famers now that haven’t seen really tough times like we did in the 80’s and certainly communication with lenders is of paramount importance. When you see things kind of going downhill a little bit it’s very important to get in to visit with the banker. And a lot of times they’ll be able to help a person through a tough time rather than coming in and all of a sudden the barn is on fire so to speak and there’s no way to save it.”
Once again those helpline numbers are 1—800—691—4336 or 1—800—273—8255.