Purdue Helping End the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health in Rural Indiana

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the month of May. Farmers think of May as prime planting season, but the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team would also like farmers and rural residents to know that it’s Mental Health Awareness Month.
Planting can be a stressful time, so if you’re struggling with your mental health, there are resources available.
“The 988 crisis call center is a number that you can call just like 911, but you don’t call it when your truck is on fire or something is happening. You call it when you’re in mental health crisis,” says Abby Heidenreich, Gibson County Purdue Extension Educator and member of the Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team.
“So, when you’re feeling depressed or when you’re feeling suicidal, or when you just need someone to talk to, you maybe have some really serious, heavy thoughts going on, you’re thinking about harming yourself or others. This is a place that you can call, or you can text, and you can talk to someone who can really help you through processing those feelings.”
The 988 hotline is for anyone to call, not just farmers or rural residents. The Purdue Extension Farm Stress Team, however, has provided some training material to those who answer the phones. Heidenreich says they’ve given them some farm lingo that should be a red flag.
For example, “A farmer who calls in and says, ‘I’m standing on top of my grain bin, or the grain leg, and I’m looking out over this farm and I’m just wondering why I’m even here.’ You know, someone outside of agriculture might think, ‘Oh, wow, that’s really pretty. What a great view!’ And anyone inside of agriculture is thinking, ‘Why are you up there? What are you doing? And what is your intention?’”
If you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out. The number again is 988. You can also find resources at extension.purdue.edu/farmstress. Let’s put an end to the stigma surrounding mental health.

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