Rural Mental Health: Understanding Stress and Depression in Farmers and Ranchers

PI: Andrea Bjornestad (South Dakota State University)
Co-PIs: Courtney Cuthbertson and Suzanne Pish (Michigan State University), Karen Funkenbusch (University of Missouri), Charlotte Shoup Olson (Kansas State University), Leacey Brown (South Dakota State University)
Award: $25,000

Project Abstract

Farming is a stressful career where finances can be impacted by external factors such as government regulations, weather, natural disasters, and market prices. With the risk of injury and exposure to chemicals combined with family pressures and long hours, farmers and ranchers may have a higher risk of developing mental health illnesses such as depression. The purpose of the proposed project is to develop and distribute a survey to farmers to determine the impact of stress on depression and suicide risk in farmers and ranchers. The results of the study will increase knowledge of mental health risks and behaviors of farmers and ranchers in the North Central region and will help inform future research and program development in the Land Grant University Cooperative Extension System.