ST. LOUIS – Missouri producers and rural families seeking mental health support now have a chance to get free confidential services as the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced the launch of the AgriStress Helpline.
Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn explained the factors that may impact a Missouri producer’s mental health in the agriculture industry.
“Having a career in agriculture is not for the faint of heart. Unpredictable weather, market volatility, cost fluctuation, government regulations, and long hours can put pressure on our producers and their families,” Chinn said. “We know producers take pride in their ability to handle challenging circumstances, which can lead to a stigma around seeking mental health support. But, it’s okay to need help. Our goal is to ensure free, confidential support is available for Missouri farmers, ranchers, and rural community members through the AgriStress Helpline.”
Educators and health professionals make up the non-profit organization, AgriSafe Network. The organization aims to reduce health gaps found in the agricultural community. AgriSafe wants to support a growing group of trained health and safety agricultural professionals who want to guarantee preventative services for workers and families in the industry.
Producers and families can call or text (833) 897-2474 to speak to a healthcare professional. The AgriStress Helpline is open 24 hours a day.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant is responsible for the establishment of this service. The department was awarded the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network grant that helps fight farmer stress and suicide. The grant money also helps distribute mental health training and resources that are issued by the University of Missouri Extension.
For more information about the AgriStress Helpline for Missouri, visit Agriculture.mo.gov.