Agricultural Producer Stress and Resilience: Using Counseling Services to Support Future Producers

Current Pilot Project


Mental health issues and suicidal actions are increasing in rural populations, especially among agricultural producers (Anderson, 2009). Agriculture is an incredibly stressful vocation, and it is not getting easier. External factors including weather, the future of production, market prices and taxes, health care costs, and not having enough time away from working (Tutor Marcom et al., 2018) all contribute to the rising mental health crises among agricultural producers.  When uncontrollable events, like a drought, occur, producers become more economically vulnerable, which adds to their mounting stress (Bryan and Garnham, 2013). Previous studies also identify that many producers have more negatively associated emotions than positive ones (Tutor Marcom et al., 2018). While agricultural producers may be able to recognize these issues, evidenced by increased requests for help relating to mental illness to the NC Agromedicine Institute, (Tutor Marcom et al., 2018), there is still evidence that producers feel that their ability to rely on others for mental and emotional support are severely lacking, and they are limited to coping mechanisms like repression and distraction (Tutor Marcom et al., 2018). Ultimately, they feel that they, alone, must shoulder the responsibility of keeping their operations afloat and provide enough for their families.  While the mental health of producers continues to deteriorate, the instances of suicide and suicidal ideation continues to rise (Tutor Marcom, 2018).