Leaders collaborate to combat mental health crises in farmers at the Ag Expo
MOULTRIE, Ga. (WALB) -There is a great deal of concern for farmers needing mental health resources. That is why The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities has allocated $2 million to help address farmers’ mental health resources.
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) has allocated a total of $5 million across UGA and the Department of Agriculture. They will also be encouraging Faith and Farm listening sessions to promote mental health awareness.
“The goal is to meet farmers where they are. And really empower those to reach out to for help. Their pastors, their spouses, fellow farmers and giving them the resources they need to know where to get help from,” said Kevin Tanner, DBHDD commissioner.
One initiative that will help farmers is the use of the 988 suicide hotline where farmers can talk to a licensed clinician.
Matt Berry, an Americus cattle farmer, wants people to know that change starts within and to check on their loved ones.
“One of the biggest tools we got is amongst ourselves. Reach out to your neighborhood; talk to your neighbor. Talk to them. You know how they are every day, so you can tell when they are out of sorts. One thing that is for sure because I live it every day, if he not okay she isn’t either,” said Berry.
Tuesday, key leaders emphasized the importance of having these conversations.
“I think that’s the biggest message that we want to push out this morning is to tell our farm families and our friends all across the state involved in the ag family. If you are having those challenges, please feel free please speak up,” said Tyler Harper, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner.
Key leaders want to make sure that all people in the agriculture business have access to mental health resources, especially those in rural areas.
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