Stress and Mental Health Resources
Michigan Farm Bureau values each and every one of our members. You’re more than a membership, you’re a part of our farming family.
These are uncertain times and farming has long been a passion of love albeit one of uncertain returns. Stress is part of this life that we love, but it doesn’t have to be a debilitating part. We’re here to help and the best way we know to do that regarding stress is by providing you with best resources and outlets.
If you are struggling and simply need someone to talk with, contact the MFB Regional Manager in your area.
Warning Signs of Stress
If you’re here because you suspect someone you know is suffering from stress, here’s a list to help you identify the warning signs:
- Change in routines: Farmers or members of the farm family may stop attending regular meetings or religious activities, drop out of other groups, or fail to stop at the local coffee shop or feed mill.
- Decline in the care of domestic animals: Livestock or pets may not be cared for in the usual way.
- Increase in illness: Farmers or farm family members may experience more upper respiratory illnesses (cold, flu) or other chronic conditions (aches, pains, persistent cough, migraines).
- Increase in farm accidents: The risk of farm accidents increases with fatigue or loss of ability to concentrate. Children may be at risk if there isn’t alternative childcare.
- Decline in appearance of farmstead: The farm family no longer takes pride in the way farm buildings and grounds appear.
- Signs of stress in children: Farm children may act out, show a decline in academic performance, or be increasingly absent from school. They also may show signs of physical abuse or neglect or become depressed.
- Decreased interest: Farmers or farm families may be less willing to commit to future activities, sign up for gatherings, or show interest in community events.
Do You or Someone You Know Need Help?
Five Steps to Help Someone in Emotional Pain
- Be there
- Stay connected
- Keep them safe
- Help them connect
Visit the National Institute of Mental Health website for more information.
Coping with Stress and Anxiety
- Connect with others
- Take breaks from negative news or influences
- Prioritize your health and well-being
- Take time to unwind
- Recognize when you need more help
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information.
AFBF Rural Resilience Training
Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union partnered on a program to train individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers, providing them with the skills to
- Understand the source of stress,
- Identify effective communication strategies,
- Reduce stigma related to mental health, and
- Learn the warning signs of stress and suicide.
Any Farm Bureau member can register for this free online training.
If you are not a Farm Bureau member, you can register for the free online training.
Michigan State University Extension
If you’re concerned about yourself, a family member, a friend or a neighbor, MSU Extension has a suite of resources and educators that can help identify and manage stress. Among other offerings, you can:
- Connect with a teletherapy professional
- Read the latest farm stress news from MSU Extension
- Take a free, online farm stress course
- Sign up for MSU Extension's pilot farm stress text-messaging program
- Explore MSU Extension's farm financial resources
- Watch the "Bury Seeds, Not Stress" series of free recorded webinars, which cover everything from the mental health stigma facing men to signs of stress in farm youth
- Contact MSU Extension's farm stress specialist for more information