Rick Worthington
Rick Worthington
People around the country working on farms face unique pressures in their profession – and there's even a term for it. They're susceptible to what is called farm stress.

Doctor Monica McConkey grew up on a farm and understands firsthand the stress of tight budgets and unpredictable markets.

And she confirms what farmers already know – there are many aspects of the business they can't change.

"There are a lot of factors that play into that, really, including uncontrollable factors, such as weather, disasters, commodity markets, illness and injury, the isolation of farming and ranching," she explains.

Farmers in many areas are facing tough times, with prices well below production costs.

McConkey says the rural nature of farming can also mean a lack of mental-health resources.

McConkey says those who care about them should watch for changes in baseline behavior or routines, which could be as simple as not coming into town for a cup of coffee every day.

"Have that conversation with that person," she urges. "'Are you doing OK?' And often it needs to be more than that, because a lot of farmers and ranchers are not doing OK right now. So sometimes, we need to dig a little deeper."

People may start isolating themselves, their moods might become erratic, or their farm might be in disrepair. She adds farmers often don't want to be seen as needing help. Still, she hopes they reach out.

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