Mental health resources for farmers dealing with stress

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — From tariffs to wet weather, it’s been a stressful year for farmers in KELOLAND.

To make matters worse, for many of us there is more rain in the forecast.

It hasn’t been an easy year for people working in agriculture. Many farmers are waiting longer than usual to get into the fields.

“This year’s challenges include the wet weather, late planting. We on a normal year could almost be done planting with our corn and soybeans now. The later it takes to get the crop planted; we know that we’re probably sacrificing some yield in both the corn and the soybeans,” farmer Walt Bones said.

Walt Bones farms near Parker.  

Thursday he’s focused on fertilizing his fields before the next round of rain. He says crop prices are also adding to the stress.

“There’s been two to three years of low prices now, so there’s some financial stress going on out in farming country,” Bones said.

Health experts say there are resources to help farmers deal with tough times.

“There’s community mental health centers, your primary care physician can assist. We here at Avera Mckennan have a 24/7 walk-in assessment. You can drive up to our front door, walk in, we will meet you here any time, every day of the week. And then there’s the hotline that provides anonymity, provides some direction,” Dr. Matt Stanely said. 

Dr. Matt Stanely with Avera Behavioral Health says it’s important for farmers to take care of their mental health.

“We want to make sure you’ve reached out, you’ve had an opportunity to talk, you know that there’s support out there. We’ve hopefully maybe even given you some coping skills,” Stanely said. 

Bones agrees.

“We need to make it clear that there are resources out there. Go talk to somebody,” Bones said. 

The Farmers’ Stress Hotline is a free and confidential service through Avera Behavioral Health . The number is 1-800-691-4336.

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