Wellness program to support farmers’ Mental Health – Sessions in January

In the coming weeks, the state is holding special programs for farmers and its partners seeking to support them.

In two weeks, the Southborough office of Mass Dept of Agricultural Resources (MADR) will hold a special Mental Health Awareness program focused on the stress that farmers and their families face. It’s part of the state’s MassGrownWellness program, created to “address the farming community’s unique mental health and wellness needs”. 

MADR will also host a session for its staff and “partner organizations” to support the initiative.

A press release from MDAR explains:

“Massachusetts farmers pride themselves on their ability to produce healthy, high-quality crops and livestock, but unfortunately, they often overlook their own mental health and well-being,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. . .

The MassGrownWellness Program is the result of a comprehensive web-based survey of statewide farmers and agricultural community stakeholders that identified the most pressing concerns facing members of this community. 85% of respondents reported some level of mental health impact as a result of working in the agricultural sector. The survey results informed MDAR’s approach by clarifying how farmers and other agricultural community members access mental health resources, the challenges they face when seeking care, and the reasons why some may resist outreach to providers.

It’s been shown that unaddressed stress correlates with chronic mental health, wellness, and family and business complications and difficulty. Through MGW, MDAR is committed to providing language, context, and resources to enhance mental health conversations around a wide range of issues, including financial concerns, alcohol or substance abuse disorders, depression, and more.

A free session for farmers “and those who support them” will take place on Thursday, January 12th from 10:30 am – noon at MDAR’s Office 3, 225 Turnpike Road, 3rd Floor.*

Farming Stress and Mental Health Awareness: Recognizing, Responding, and Accessing Resources

We will identify the barriers farmers face when accessing resources and the methods to facilitate connection to available supports.

We will explore ways to:

  • Recognize when a farmer or farm family is under stress.
  • Start conversations about emotional well-being.
  • Initiate strategies to connect people to support.
  • Practice self-care when you are experiencing stress.

For more details and to register, click here.

The day prior, in the same office, MDAR will hold a training on the same topic for staff and ” and partner organizations in Massachusetts interested in supporting healthy and successful farms.” That takes place at 10:00 am on the 11th.* Click here for details.

For more schedule options, including other locations and virtual programs, click here. To learn more about the MGW initiative, click here.

*(Space is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis)

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