Farmers often struggle to seek help for themselves. Many of us were taught to be independent and to “grin and bear it” when tough times come around. Please do not let your pride stand in the way of getting what you need. Approaching someone – be it spouse, parent, relative or friend – who needs help can be just as challenging. What if they do not want help? How can I even tell for sure if they need help? Here are some common warning signs from Rob Holcomb, UMN Extension Educator, which may indicate that someone needs a hand or counseling services:
- They isolate themselves
- They abruptly sell land/livestock or their equipment/farmstead falls into disrepair
- Their substance use increases
- They lack motivation, become less productive, or their mood changes
- They use statements of hopelessness or giving up
- Their sleep patterns are altered
- Their spouse/significant other/children exhibit stress
The most important thing is that if you see something, please say something. Below is a list of phone lines, websites and other rural counseling services that can be used by farmers and others in rural communities. And do not underestimate the power of a cup of coffee and a conversation. Taking five minutes out of your day to call someone may make the difference for a farmers and their family.
- Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline: (833) 600-2670
- Ted Matthews, Rural Mental Health Counselor: (320) 266-2390, www.centerofagriculture.org (search for “mental health”)
- Mobile Crisis Teams: www.mn.gov/dhs (search for “adult mental health phone numbers”)
- University of Minnesota “Dealing with Stress” website: z.umn.edu/stressresources
- 2-1-1: www.211.org
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture Farm Stress Resources: www.minnesotafarmstress.com, or find the Coping with Farm and Rural Stress brochure at your FSA office
- Farmer-Lender Mediation: (218) 935-5785, https://extension.umn.edu/get-help/farmer-lender-mediation
- Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG): (877) 860-4349, www.flaginc.org
- Minnesota Farm Advocates: (218) 346-4866 or www.mda.state.mn.us/farmadvocates
- Minnesota Rural Finance Authority: (651) 201-6556, www.mda.state.mn.us/agfinance
- Minnesota State Farm Business Management Education: (218) 894-5163 or (507) 389-7263, https://agcentric.org/farm-business-management
- University of Minnesota Extension Free, Confidential Financial Counseling for Farmers: (800) 232-9077, z.umn.edu/financehelp
Remember, you are not alone. It is not a sign of weakness to receive help or aid from counseling services.
For a free, comprehensive insurance review of your farm operations, contact one of our local Agents in your area HERE.