Farm Stress and Mental Health

HICAHS collaborators are utilizing decades of research experience studying farm stress and mental health disorders in agricultural settings to collaborate on new regional projects. Of particular focus is sources of stress and coping skills in underserved and foreign-born worker populations. 

Chronic farm stress is nothing new. For decades, farm owners and operators have navigated a myriad of stressors, many out of their control, including: weather; commodity prices; family legacy; and heavy workloads. Hispanic, Latino, and migrant workers deal with the additional stress of language barriers and being separated from family and loved ones. Occupational factors, like pesticide exposures and high rates of asthma exacerbate suicide and stress risks.

Recently, the agricultural community has taken a renewed interest in the importance of mental health in overall wellbeing. HICAHS collaborators are utilizing decades of research experience studying farm stress and mental health disorders in agricultural occupational settings to contribute to these renewed efforts. Of particular focus are sources of stress and coping skills in underserved and foreign-born worker populations. Read more about this work below.

Looking for farm stress and mental health resources? Visit our worker health and safety resources page.

 

Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program (WRASAP)

This program brings together Extension and AgrAbility programs across the west to expand the resources and services available to agricultural communities to reduce farm stress and promote mental health and wellbeing. The range of services offered for farmers includes: Farm Aid Hotline (extended hours), Rural Peer Assistance Network, Everyday Democracy, peer support groups, promotores outreach, mental health intervention curriculum development and QPR/MHFA trainings. HICAHS Deputy Director, Lorann Stallones is part of the regional team conducting surveys on-line of the farmers, ranchers, and farm workers in the region regarding sources of strength and resilience and stress related to work and the work environment. Read the full project scope and learn more at the network’s website, farmstress.us.

The WRASAP Network will meet on Thursday, April 8 at 2:00pm MDT. Click here for meeting details and to register. All are invited.

Funding: USDA-NIFA, 2020-2021
Contact: Lorann Stallones

 

Emergency Expansion of Multisystemic Suicide Prevention and Treatment across Colorado in Response to COVID-19

To respond to stressors from the pandemic, this project expands access to mental health services for adults with suicidal thoughts and behaviors in English and Spanish and offers suicide prevention training across Colorado.  HICAHS collaborators play an important role in promoting services to rural and Latinx communities and informing outreach training for gatekeepers to both increase participants’ social support, self-care, and ability to identify signs of suicidality and refer people to needed care.

Funding: SAMHSA, 2020-2021
Contact: Morgan Valley

 

Weekly Peer Discussion Sessions as an Intervention Strategy for Coping with Euthanasia-Related Stress

While euthanasia is a necessary component of animal care and is critical for ceasing animal suffering, it can be difficult to perform, especially for those individuals tasked with caring for and keeping animals healthy. With funding from the HICAHS Emerging Issues program and the National Pork board, investigators conducted interviews with workers to better understand the impact of performing on-farm euthanasia in dairy and swine workers. This work highlighted a clear need for culturally responsive interventions including training programs and metal health resources that address euthanasia-related decision making, practice, and stressors. This new project builds seeks to assess the impact of regular peer discussion sessions as a coping strategy to reduce euthanasia-related stress in dairy workers.

Funding: Human-Animal Interaction Pilot Grant Program, School of Social Work, Colorado State University, 2020
Contact: Lily Edwards-Callaway