Farming is recognized as a stressful occupation. Untreated stress can lead to anxiety, depression, chemical dependence, and suicide. While mental health issues associated with farming have been widely discussed in the literature, the rich “stories” of farmers sharing their perspective on stress and stress reduction strategies have not been told. This study is designed to give “voice” to the farmer. It is based on a successful model used to address senior farmer health and safety (Reed & Claunch, 2015) and has been found to support the translation of research to practice.
Funds are required to fill this gap in the literature and obtain the “voices” of farmers and their family members. Specifically, a descriptive qualitative study to conduct focus groups in both Kentucky and Tennessee will be used to gain insight from the farmers’ perspective about factors that contribute to stress, community resources needed to deal with stress, and stress reduction interventions that are acceptable to this population. The goals of this exploratory project are to assist farmers and their family members to identify sources of farmer stress, put forward ideas to address and reduce this stress, and to ultimately prevent suicide. The information obtained is essential for the development of future intervention studies aimed at decreasing stress and suicide among this vulnerable population.