Rural Mental Health & Farm Stress
Focus Area for the Mountain Plains MHTTC
The rural mental health vision for the Mountain Plains MHTTC is to support increased access to providers of mental health services for the more than 60 million Americans living in rural communities. To achieve this, the Center develops and promotes training and technical assistance which supports the rural mental health workforce and reduces barriers to mental health treatment for rural residents.
The Center also recognizes that the agricultural community encounters 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.
Goals to Address Rural Mental Health
The Mountain Plains MHTTC is addressing the barriers of rural mental healthcare accessibility, availability, and acceptability by developing and providing training and technical assistance that:
- Reaches students, entry level professionals, and established providers in rural communities.
- Highlights the appropriate use of technologies for the existing rural mental health workforce including telehealth.
- Covers effective practice in rural communities. Many established models for delivery of mental health care do not account for the unique challenges presented by rural communities. Providing focused training on the realities of practice for rural mental health providers can help increase the satisfaction of the patients being served by these providers.
- Farm Stress: Facts, Impact of COVID-19, and Resource and Training Needs of Mental Health Care Providers
- Depression, Alcohol and Farm Stress: Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders in Rural America
- Rural Mental Health in a Pandemic: Q&A with Thomasine Heitkamp and Dennis Mohatt
- Talking Farm Stress Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Podcast
- Promoting Positive Mental Health in Rural Schools: A Resource Guide
- Farm Stress and Mental Health Website
- Measuring Stigma Around Mental Illness in North Dakota
- Addressing Rural Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages: Lessons Learned from a Rural Psychology Internship Initiative
Our Past Training Events
- Improving Mental Health Care by Understanding the Culture of Farming and Rural Communities
- Approaching and Treating Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Use Disorders in Farming and Rural Communities
- Providing Mental Health Telehealth Services in Farming and Rural Communities
- Rural Primary Care Tools and Resources for Managing Suicidal Ideation During COVID-19
- Compassion Fatigue: Farm Stress and the Mental Health Provider
- Psychosocial Impacts of Disasters: Assisting Community Leaders
- Farming and Faith Supports: Cultivating Spiritual Resilience in Challenging Times
- Hands-on Tools and Strategies to Assist Providers Working with Farmers
- The Economics of Farm Stress
- Introduction to Farm Stress: Mental Health Needs among Diverse Farm Populations
- Building Capacity of Rural School Personnel to Address Mental Health Needs of Students through Communities of Practice
- Housing for All in Rural Communities
- Together with Veterans: A Rural Veteran Suicide Prevention Program
- Farm Crisis and Behavioral Health
- Rural Mental Health Disparities and Workforce Implications
Resources by Topic
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.
These resources offer a variety of support for farmers including stress hotlines, disaster recovery, opioid abuse resources, and educational opportunities.
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.
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, including suicide prevention hotlines, tools to identify risk.
The following resources are learning and development tools for individuals serving persons with mental health disorders. Resources include toolkits, webinar recordings, and upcoming trainings.
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.
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.