by: Kaisha Batman
FORD COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A recent study by the #CDC found that over the past two decades, #suicide rates across the #UnitedStates have increased by 40%. Part of the population hit hardest, live in rural areas.
The #CDC reports that #suicide rates in #ruralcounties are 1.7 times the rate of those in urban counties, raising concern that #mentalhealth is a growing problem outside of larger cities.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
The American Farm Bureau Federation found that two in five rural #adults say #stress and #mentalhealthissues within their community have increased in the past five years and 48% are personally experiencing more #mentalhealthchallenges than they were a year ago.
The #CDC also found that #farmers are among some of the most likely to die by #suicide compared to other occupations. This is a cause for worry for #mentalhealthprofessionals.
“When you’re outside on a tractor all day, by yourself, you can get in your head. When you live out on a farm and you’re twenty minute, miles from town, you don’t get to town very often,” said Deb Moffitt, Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker and co-founder of Ford County #Suicide Coalition.
Experts believe a majority of the issues stem from uncontrollable stressors such as commodity prices, weather, and government regulations.
Farm Bureau found a staggering number of #farmers believe factors related to farming negatively impact their #mentalhealth; (91%) #financial issues, (87%) fear of losing their farm, and (88%) the daily problems of running their operations are the leading stressors.
A major obstacle in #rural #America is the lack of #mentalhealthresources. Farm Bureau reports only 46% of farmers have access to a #mentalhealth therapist or counselor in their community.
“Some just decide, ‘I’m okay. I don’t need to drive all over Kansas to get help.’ And you can’t blame them for that. But what I hate to see is that they’ve put the barrier up without finding out first,” said Moffitt.
But an even bigger issue may be #mentalhealthstigma.
“They tend to feel like they have to be the strong one in the family and that means they can’t let anyone know close to them, their family or their friends, their community, that they might be struggling,” said Maria Cooper, Licensed Professional Counselor
But advocates want everyone to know, you are not weak or alone. If there is not a #mentalhealthspecialist within your community, to speak with your local doctor, minister, or someone you trust.
“We want to help give you the support that you need so you can keep going and pass on your family legacy to the next generation,” said Cooper.
They say asking for help may be the most difficult step, but is the most important.
For more information on where to get help, click here.
You can also visit Farm Bureau‘s website for additional helplines, training programs, and other resources.
To talk to a #suicideprevention advocate, call this hotline number 1-800-273-82-55. Services are available 24 hours a day if you or someone you know needs to ask for help.