Farm Stress and Mental Health

farmerThe Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) team is dedicated to addressing rural mental health and recognize that the agricultural community encounter unique challenges related to the accessibility, availability, and acceptability of mental health services. Specific training and resources have been developed to address mental health and suicide among agricultural workers and their families. Unless otherwise specified, “farm” and “farmer” refer to ranchers, farmers, farm managers/owners, and agricultural workers.


Mountain Plains MHTTC Training and Resources

Improving Mental Health Service Access for Farming and Rural Communities: Three-part Series

June - July 2020

This three-part series is a partnership between the American Psychological Association (APA), the Great Lakes MHTTC and the Mountain Plains MHTTC. The purpose is disseminate information to better address mental health needs surrounding the farming and American frontier communities through psychological science and research. 

Farm Stress: Facts, Impact of COVID-19, and Resource and Training Needs of Mental Health Care Providers

June 2020

The Mountain Plains and Mid- America MHTTCs and the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers contacted key stakeholders in May 2020 to assess the impact of the farm crisis and perceptions regarding next steps. Feedback from these providers and stakeholders is included along with updated data related to farm stress and mental health. The brief also provides a list of resources to assist providers in addressing the mental health of farmers and their families. 

Depression, Alcohol and Farm Stress: Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders in Rural America

April 2020

The Mountain Plains Addiction Technology Transfer Center and MHTTC have collaborated to release a resource guide to assist rural health care providers with screening and assessment of alcohol use disorder and depression. The guide uses a case scenario to illustrate the most common barriers encountered in identifying co-occurring disorders and underscores the unique needs of rural communities that are home to agricultural producers.

Talking Farm Stress Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Podcast

May 14, 2020

In this interview with Joel Heitkamp of KGFO Radio in Fargo, Dr. Andy McLean, Chair of Psychiatry and Dr. Maridee Shogren, Clinical Associate Professor, University of North Dakota, discuss the unique stress that farmers are under with the COVID-19 pandemic, tariffs, and a tough planting season. In the podcast, they share what the University of North Dakota is doing to support individuals struggling with mental health issues in these times.

Compassion Fatigue: Farm Stress and the Mental Health Provider

January 6, 2020

Robin Landwehr, LPCC, discussed burnout prevention strategies for mental health providers working with farm and ranch populations. This session focused on the unique challenges and stressors faced by the individuals who work to support persons experiencing farm stress. Robin also discussed ways for providers to increase compassion satisfaction, minimize compassion fatigue, and prevent the onset of burnout related to mental health work.

Hands-on Tools and Strategies to Assist Providers Working with Farmers

December 16, 2019

Meg Moynihan, from Eyes on the Horizon Consulting, and Monica McConkey, from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, provided an overview on the tools and strategies they utilize every day to address the mental health needs of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers.

Introduction to Farm Stress: Mental Health Needs among Diverse Farm Populations

November 25, 2019

In this one-hour webinar, presenters spoke to the definition of farm stress, contributing factors, the impact of farm stress on the family, and how farming demographics and associated stress may vary by U.S. region. This session introduced resources that currently exist for farmers addressing stress and suicide risk, as well as presented ongoing gaps and barriers to utilizing mental health services in agricultural communities.

The Economics of Farm Stress

December 9, 2019

Dr. David Flynn, Professor of Economics, provided an overview of the economic landscape that affects farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers in the United States. This session highlighted the challenges faced by producers in adapting to uncertain commodities pricing, the long and short term impacts of tariffs, and the financial pressures caused by uncertain crop yields and changing weather.


Additional Farm Stress and Mental Health Resources

There are several resources available that provide summaries of agricultural mental health concerns, up-to-date data visualizations, and toolkits for addressing barriers to mental health services for farmers, farm managers/owners, ranchers, agricultural workers and their families. Resources have been organized by topic.

COVID-19, and Farm and Ranch Stress

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional stress on farmers and ranchers, harming financial stability and increasing isolation. These resources consider the impact of COVID-19 specifically.

Information and Data on Farm Stress and Mental Health

These resources provide information and data on topics related to farm stress and mental health including demographics, the agricultural workforce, the opioid crisis, suicide rates, health care professional shortages, disasters, and others.

Suicide Prevention

These resources include suicide prevention hotlines, tools to identify risk, and information on suicide rates in agricultural communities.

Resources for Healthcare Providers Caring for Agricultural Families

The following resources are learning and development tools for individuals serving persons with mental health disorders. Resources include toolkits, webinar recordings, and upcoming trainings.

Managing Stress: Resources for the Agricultural Community

Stress management is an important skill for workers in high stress fields like farming and ranching. The following resources offer strategies for recognizing and managing stress.

Direct Supports for Farmers

These resources offer a variety of support for farmers including stress hotlines, disaster recovery, opioid abuse resources, and educational opportunities.

United States Department of Agriculture’s Extension Offices: Mental Health Topics

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds state and county extension offices. These offices provide local resources on managing the financial and emotional stressors of farming, among many other topics.