Several Studies and the Center for Disease Control have found the rates of mental illness and suicide are higher among farmers There is no doubt that they work long hours, have limited social interaction and are at the mercy of many factors they cannot control like the weather and events like COVID-19. Add other concerns like alcohol abuse, depression, financial worries, and even trauma over having to euthanize livestock- to many farmers the situation might become unbearable to handle by themselves. Contacting the Farm Center at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Wisconsin has established a hotline that which helps farmers with financial, legal, and mental health concerns. The program also is getting usage from farmers that need help dealing with the effects of COVID-19.
There is no doubt that they work long hours, have limited social interaction and are at the mercy of many factors they cannot control like the weather and events like COVID-19.
As part of a new pilot program, the Farm Center can now connect callers to a 24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline. The hotline can be reached at 1-888-901-2558. Licensed mental health professionals contracted by the department will provide immediate, in-the-moment care. In addition to the 24/7 hotline, long-term options are available: Callers can schedule ongoing tele-health counseling sessions from a contracted licensed counselor based in Wisconsin, with referrals made through the 24/7 hotline or through the Wisconsin Farm Center (1-800-942-2474).Persons who prefer an in-person session can request to meet with a local provider through the Farm Center’s longstanding Counseling Voucher Program.
“The 24/7 Farmer Counseling Hotline is available around the clock as a welcoming ear for farmers who need to talk through a challenging time in their life,” said Farm Center Director Jayne Krull. “We hope that this initial pilot program will help us better understand whether a 24/7 hotline and tele-counseling are viable tools for our farmers with mental health needs.”
The Farm Center launched Rural Realties, a podcast offering advise to farmers and farm service providers, about managing stress and anxiety. To listen to podcast, visit FarmCenter.wi.gov.
Later this month, the Farm Center will begin hosting QPR trainings (Question-Persuade-Refer) for people who work closely with farmers, so they can learn how to identify the warning signs of a suicide crisis and direct the person to appropriate resources. The wellness hotline can be reached at 1-888-901-2558.