Rural areas have higher per capita depression and suicide rates than do urban areas. So farmers, who by nature of the profession are already isolated, experience even greater duress when economic or environmental stressors threaten their livelihood. A program called Sowing the Seeds of Hope, based in Harlan, Iowa, provides free mental health hotlines for farmers in seven Midwestern states. Hotline organizers say that when farmers face hard times, as with poor crops or being forced to sell equipment and animals, their sense of failure is more than just a financial one. Calling hotlines to discuss financial stress and personal and relationship troubles with people who understand an agricultural lifestyle can be very helpful. Sowing the Seeds of Hope also provides community education, counseling vouchers, and retreats and support groups. Learn more at the Sowing the Seeds Of Hope website.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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