#FarmNeighborsCare During Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) is supporting rural residents in looking after their farm neighbors who might be struggling with increased stress.

Throughout the month of May, Farm Bureau volunteers across the state will be participating in local initiatives to deliver care packages as a part of the organization’s Farm Neighbors Care campaign.

“Mental wellness holds significant importance within rural Wisconsin,” said WFBF Senior Director of Member Relations Wendy Volkert. “Farm Bureau remains steadfast in its commitment to providing farmers with the support and resources essential for seeking assistance during challenging times. They also help to aid their families and friends in accessing the necessary mental health support.”

Farm Neighbors Care Campaign

Farm Neighbors Care is a campaign to support farmers who are facing stress due to low market prices, poor weather and crop conditions, etc. Farming can be an isolating career, especially if other family members work off the farm. It is important to check in on your friends, neighbors and family members to gauge how they are doing and offer support.

The campaign asks rural residents to have face-to-face conversations with farmers and agri-business owners. For some, this conversation and check-in may be the dose of positivity needed to make it through a tough day.

Studies over the past few decades have consistently found farmers and farmworkers at a higher risk of death by suicide compared to other occupational groups. 91 percent of rural adults say mental health is important to them and their family. 31% of rural adults have personally sought help for a mental health condition. 24% have a family member who has sought care for a mental health condition.

Heroes of Hope Campaign

Through #FarmNeighborsCare, WFBF is running a campaign called Heroes of Hope. It aims to identify people who have helped bring hope to farmers or businesses, either in large or small ways. Members of the agriculture community are encouraged to nominate individuals who have made an impact on the way they conduct business.

Who’s a hero? Somebody who helped another person through a tough time. This could be assisting with harvest, delivering meals and generally “being there” to listen. Nominations will close May 20. One nominee will be recognized as the grand prize winner. An additional four nominees will be named runners-up, with prize packages provided by local sponsors.

To nominate a Hero of Hope, visit www.wfbf.com/farm-neighbors-care- campaign/heroes-of-hope/.

The #FarmNeighborsCare coalition includes producer groups, Extension, health care providers and other organizations. When loved ones, neighbors or others you care about are experiencing mental health challenges, they may not even realize it. Visit the Farm Neighbors Care website for tips on how to identify someone who might be at risk.