Farm State of Mind campaign to expand impact in rural mental health
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Bayer and the American Farm Bureau Federation announce the transition of Bayer’s Farm State of Mind campaign, an initiative to raise mental health awareness among the farming community, to Farm Bureau. The campaign aims to reduce stigma surrounding the topic of mental health in rural communities and to provide relevant information to farm families on this important topic. Farm Bureau plans to combine the Farm State of Mind assets with those of its ongoing Rural Resilience campaign, expanding the reach and effectiveness of its rural mental health initiatives.
Challenging weather, destructive pests, trade disputes, labor shortages and market volatility over the past few years have brought an unprecedented level of pressure on America’s farmers. A 2019 Farm Bureau survey shows that an overwhelming majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues, farm or business problems and fear of losing their farm negatively impact their mental health. In addition, 48% of rural adults said they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago. Nearly one in three farmers doesn’t feel comfortable talking to friends or family members about solutions for a mental health condition.
“As a third-generation farmer, I’m familiar with the stress of farm life, and I’ve heard heartbreaking stories as I’ve traveled the country about warning signs missed and loved ones lost,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We’d like to thank Bayer for taking the initiative around this important topic and are excited to expand our impact by growing this campaign to connect even more farmers and ranchers with the resources they need.”
Complicating this issue is that many farmers are reluctant to talk about the effects of stress or seek help. The Farm State of Mind initiative provides farmers with resources, encourages conversations and reduces the stigma surrounding the issue of mental health. Transitioning this program to an organization as trusted as Farm Bureau will greatly expand its reach and effectiveness among farmers.
“Bayer recognized the need to help raise awareness on the important issue of mental health in farm communities – these are difficult conversations to have and our heart goes out to those individuals and families who have been impacted. That’s why we developed the Farm State of Mind campaign,” says Lisa Safarian, president of Bayer Crop Science for North America. “It was important for us to provide information and resources on the topic to those who needed it, but we quickly realized that this issue is much bigger than any one single company and no group is better positioned than Farm Bureau to take the lead on this campaign to help realize its full potential.”
The campaign is designed to encourage an open dialogue among farmers through social channels and offers a variety of tips, resources and referrals to address mental health needs. Farm State of Mind has already reached millions of farmers across the country and that number continues to grow.
Bayer is also providing Farm Bureau with a financial contribution to help support the transition and future success of the Farm State of Mind campaign.
Find more information on Farm State of Mind at tinyurl.com/u4lh6ww. Find more information on Rural Resilience at www.fb.org/programs/rural-resilience/. The combination of the awareness campaigns is expected to be completed by April 2020.