America’s farmers and ranchers are resilient, but even the most stalwart face mental health challenges. In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosts a free, virtual convening over three days to highlight this important, but often overlooked issue. The title of the convening is Sustainable Livelihoods and Behavioral Health: Strategies and Partnerships to address Farm Stress and Suicide. The event brings together leaders from USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), farmers and ranchers, technical assistance providers, as well as individuals and other strategic partners, to focus on current challenges with rural mental health. The event will focus on the federal government’s response across various agencies, as well as best practices and strategies to address stress and mental health issues on the farm and ranch.
Key takeaways include:
Information on the federal agency response to farm stress, including initiatives like the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and the 988 national mental health crisis hotline.
Presentations from the USDA Rural Health Liaison team and Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) agencies to raise awareness of an issue that often has been stigmatized.
Interactive regional breakout sessions bringing together Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network partners, Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grantees, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) regional staff.
Capacity building trainings and workshops for USDA staff, technical assistance providers, and farmer-serving organizations, as well as clinicians and behavioral health providers.