Scott Fitzgerald slams agriculture secretary over comments on farmer mental health. (Wisconsin State Journal:
In response to: “As of today, DATCP has funding to provide just five more counseling vouchers to farmers in need of mental health care,” Pfaff said. “If the Joint Finance Committee doesn’t want to move this funding forward immediately, then they have a choice to make: which five farmers will (get mental health care)?”
I suspect Fitzgerald doesn't like these inflammatory headlines either.
The need for mental health resources for struggling farmers is nothing new for Wisconsin or the United States. Many crisis helplines and programs started during the 1980s farm crisis, including the Farm Center from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. And a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using data from 2012 found people in farming, fishing and forestry jobs had the highest rate of suicide compared to other occupational groups.
Wisconsin, which had a record 915 suicides in 2017, may be seeing a surge in suicides and suicidal thoughts among farmers, who are facing some of the worst economic challenges in years, experts say.
Exact numbers of suicides among farmers aren’t available, and authorities say some deaths reported as farm accidents are actually suicides.
But calls to the Wisconsin Farm Center, which helps distressed farmers, were up last year, including a 33 percent increase in November and December compared to the same two months the previous year.
A new survey shows America's farmers are feeling less optimistic about the future. Results from the monthly farmer sentiment survey have hit a two-year low. Farmers are facing financial troubles and that's causing more mental health emergencies as well.