$10 million in mental health funding supports farmers

Farmers in need of mental support are receiving assistance
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 7:18 PM CST
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ELDORADO, Wis. (WBAY) - The Clark family milks 150 cows, twice a day, and manage more than a thousand acres.

“Because everyday is different, there’s a lot of challenges that come at us. And that can be overwhelming for some people,” Janet Clark, owner of Vision Aire Farms explained.

Clark said farmers are resilient, but deal with some unique stressors.

“Finances are always changing,” Clark said. “You are never guaranteed to have what your milk price is. It’s a commodity so it’s going to fluctuate. What are our input costs from year to year? That’s always changing and that can wear on people’s mental health.”

Lawmakers took notice, President Biden signing a bill into law that gives $10 million to the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. The network connects farmers with resources and programs, but also promotes mental health awareness in rural communities.

“It trains and assists people who regularly interact with farmers and agricultural producers to connect those individuals who need help with the resources they need,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin said.

Farmers are three-and-a-half times more likely to die by suicide compared to others, according to the National Rural Health Association.

“In our industry we have been really focusing in and making sure that not only people get help, but taking care of our neighboring farmers,” Clark told Action 2 News.

The Wisconsin Farm Center offers free and confidential services for things like finances veteran assistance and general wellbeing.

Clark said, “You can call into the Farm Center and they have people that are there to help you find the resources you need depending on what your situation is.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, we have a link to helplines on wbay.com/links.