National Ag Week (March 21-27) is a time to celebrate all the farmers and agriculture workers in Ohio and across the United States. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the hardworking farmers and agriculture workers who work tirelessly to raise the crops and livestock we need to survive and thrive. Their unwavering dedication and commitment to their craft is truly inspiring, and we are fortunate to have them as a vital part of our society.
If you are a farmer or agricultural worker- thank you for letting Ohio State University Extension employees serve you!
If you know a farmer or agricultural worker and want to show your appreciation, consider one of these options!
- Support your local farmers by purchasing local foods such as meat, vegetables, eggs, or household goods.
- Send a care package to your favorite farmers. Many farmers are about to spend a lot of time in their fields. Put together a small package of snacks (cookies, chips, jerky, water or sports drinks, etc.) for them to enjoy on the job.
- Give them space. Your local roads may soon be filled with farmers and their families moving equipment from farm to field. Drive carefully and leave plenty of room between you and farm equipment so that everyone can make it safely home.
Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.” While the stigma around mental health and suicide has certainly decreased over the last several years, it is still very prevalent and affects our family, friends, and community.
Attend the upcoming Rural Stigma Conference to learn how stigma affects rural communities and what we can do to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and suicide. The keynote speakers and breakout session leaders are individuals with a true passion and years of expertise in this subject.
Visit the Conference Home Page for more information, including an agenda.
Click here to register for the conference.
This is the second post in our series about mental health after disasters. Click here to read part 1.
No two humans will respond the same way to a disaster or other traumatic event. There are patterns and common reactions to be sure, but we all have unique life experiences that lead us to respond one way or another. After a disaster, many people will be fine and seem to resume their normal lives, but others may struggle. A person’s reactions to a traumatic event might occur immediately after an event, or they may take several months to a year to surface.
Keep an eye out for friends and family by paying attention to certain changes, including:
- Changes in sleeping patterns. Are they sleeping far more than normal or constantly complaining about fatigue? Are they complaining about not being able to sleep at all?
- Changes in emotional state. Do they seem to be “on edge” all the time? Do they say they feel powerless or helpless?
- Changes in habits- Have they stopped their normal routine? (Ex- no longer going to church, no longer attending grange meetings, etc.)
- Choosing negative coping strategies- Are they drinking more than normal? Are they engaging in risky behaviors?
Changes like these that last four weeks or more may be signs that someone is experiencing increased stress or anxiety after a traumatic event. You can help by letting the person know what you’ve noticed and share that you are concerned. Provide resources for local providers and let them know that crisis lines are available.
988: Call or text the Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline to speak with a trained professional about suicidal thoughts or other crisis situations like panic attacks or severe anxiety.
741741: Text any word to this number to start a conversation with a trained professional who will listen and provide confidential support.
1-800-720-9616- The Ohio Careline is available by phone 24/7 and will connect you with a trained local professional who can provide emotional support and resources.
Any given day, we can turn on the television or open a news app and find a story about an environmental disaster happening in some corner of the country. Stories about wildfires in Colorado or derechos in Iowa are sad and compelling, but we don’t always give disasters much of a thought until they happen in our backyard. When a disaster does happen close to our homes and communities, we can be faced with threats to our physical and mental health.
Humans are resilient and can handle a lot of difficult situations. But sometimes we need to take extra steps to protect our mental health, especially when a disaster happens. What can you do to protect mental health in a disaster?
- Take care of immediate needs- Make sure friends and family have a safe place to shelter, access to food and water, and proper clothing. Make sure they have access to required medications or medical devices.
- Don’t force a story- It’s human nature to ask, “What happened?!” There’s nothing wrong with being curious, but it can be upsetting to relive the event each time we’re asked to repeat a story. Offer a listening ear if you can, but don’t pressure others into sharing. Don’t feel obligated to repeat your own experiences either.
- Avoid “doom scrolling.” – Social media and 24/7 news channels make it easy to stay connected and informed. But constant exposure to stories about disasters and other intense events can be detrimental to our mental health. Set a limit on how much time you will spend consuming this information, and get your information from a trusted source .
Most people will be “okay” after a disaster and find healthy ways to cope and adapt to challenges. If you or someone close to you begins to experience severe stress or anxiety, reach out to a local mental health professional or a crisis line. Each of the resources listed below have trained professionals ready to listen to you, provide confidential support, and connect you with resources.
988 Suicide & Crisis Prevention Life Line– call or text 988
Crisis Textline- text any word to 741741
Ohio Careline- dial 1-800-720-9616