The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) companion site for coping with farm stress received 4,600 visits in 2019, but has already received more than 5,000 in just the first six months of 2020.
The MDA released that statistic in a press release issued last week while promoting a mental health hotline for farmers to combat the extra stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MDH has increased the ways people can use the hotline, now accepting texts and emails from those who are struggling.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for our farmers to get the help they need when they need it,” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said in a statement.
“COVID-19 has come on top of several years of high costs, low prices, and bad weather for farmers. We know chronic stress takes a toll on people and can really affect the way they cope with challenging situations,” he added.
The helpline is a way for farmers and others in the agricultural community to speak about their stresses confidentially. The service can link callers with a rural mental health specialist, or help them find information about financial and legal resources. Users are welcome to remain anonymous.
Those who are worried about family or friends and aren’t sure how to help are also encouraged to use the hotline, which is available 24/7.
Contact options now include:
- Phone (toll free): 833-600-2670
- Text: FARMSTRESS to 898211
- Email: email@example.com