Pandemic Impact on Farmers' Mental Health
The pandemic has had an effect on all of our lives, and our farmers and ranchers are no different. The American Farm Bureau recently did a survey on the causes of stress and mental health issues in farmers and other rural adults. This was a follow up to a similar survey conducted in 2019 to determine what changes may have occurred as a result of the pandemic. Here’s American Farm Bureau director of communications Ray Atkinson.
Atkinson… “A very strong majority said that farmer business problems and fear of losing the farm were impacting farmers’ mental health. Fast forward to December when we did this survey, we wanted to look at how things have changed since 2019. And then we also asked some specific questions about the impact of COVID.”
Some of the findings in the survey included the fact that 52% of rural adults aged 18-34 say they have thought more about their mental health during the pandemic. And farmers and farmworkers were 10% more likely than rural adults as a whole to have experienced feeling nervous, anxious or on edge.
Atkinson… “The kind of headline point was that two in three farmers or farm workers said that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their mental health. The really interesting finding was that the percentage of farmers and farm workers that said social isolation impacts their mental health increased 22% since we did the (first) survey in April 2019.”
Resources for those wanting to learn more about mental health can be found at www.farmstateofmind.org.