USDA to host virtual mental health event for farmers, ranchers

Amber Burke
Wisconsin State Farmer
America’s farmers and ranchers are resilient, but even the most stalwart face mental health challenges.

America’s farmers and ranchers are resilient, but even the most stalwart face mental health challenges. In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host a free, virtual conference May 17, 18, and 19 to highlight this important, but often overlooked issue. 

The title of the conference is Sustainable Livelihoods and Behavioral Health: Strategies and Partnerships to address Farm Stress and Suicide. The event brings together leaders from USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), farmers and ranchers, technical assistance providers, as well as individuals and other strategic partners, to focus on current challenges with rural mental health. The event will focus on the federal government’s response across various agencies, as well as best practices and strategies to address stress and mental health issues on the farm and ranch.

Key takeaways

  • Information on the federal agency response to farm stress, including initiatives like the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and the 988 national mental health crisis hotline.
  • Presentations from the USDA Rural Health Liaison team and Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) agencies to raise awareness of an issue that often has been stigmatized.
  • Interactive regional breakout sessions bringing together Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network partners, Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grantees, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) regional staff.
  • Capacity building trainings and workshops for USDA staff, technical assistance providers, and farmer-serving organizations, as well as clinicians and behavioral health providers.

The virtual event takes place May 17, 18, and 19 from 1 – 5 p.m. EDT. Register today and find more information at https://www.usda.gov/partnerships/other or contact partnerships@usda.gov.