One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. If you’re not familiar with the opening scenes of this masterpiece, the main character is a weatherman who wants to leave the small town of Punxsutawney and return home immediately, if not faster. His team comes across a road closure, and he hops out of the vehicle to question a state trooper about the delay. The trooper asks, “Don’t you watch the weather? We got a major storm here.” Frustrated and upset, the weatherman shouts, “I MAKE THE WEATHER.”
As most of the state ends another week with minimal or no rainfall, you might be feeling frustrated and upset. What each of us wouldn’t give to “make the weather” and control the rainfall, the temperature, and a million other small details that affect how crops grow and livestock thrive. While we don’t have that ability to control the weather outside our front door, we can control our own personal “weather”- our mindset. Here are some tips to “make the weather” for yourself (adapted from this article shared last year):
- Make time for laughs: Have you ever heard laughter is the best medicine? Well, it might not be the best, but it can help. Make sure you find time to spend with your funny family member or employee. You know who they are.
- Stay away from unhealthy coping mechanisms: Coping by stress eating is easy to do, but it can also make you feel lethargic and uncomfortable. Try playing a game, calling a friend, or spending time in nature. An increase in unhealthy habits such as alcohol use can contribute to farm accidents, and could negatively impact you, your family, and your farm business.
- Take a look at long-term goals and plans: Talk with family and employees about any improvements or goals you have for the future. Making sure everyone is on the same page is crucial, and talking about the future can help us remember that things won’t always be this way, and we can hope for better days ahead.
- Help yourself and others during stressful times: Make time for check-ins with family and friends. This support not only helps them but you during this stressful time. No one should have to feel alone if they may be feeling any type of anxiety or sadness. While you are waiting for the weather to change, this is a great time to reach out to friends, family, and neighbors- even if it’s just a quick text.
- Remember that you are more than your farm. We need you to be healthy both physically and mentally. Reach out if you or someone you know may be struggling. There are resources available at go.osu.edu/farmstress and you can reach out to your local Extension office. If you or someone you care about is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Suicide and Crisis Prevention Lifeline at 988. You can also use the Crisis Textline by sending a message to 741741.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has been live for nearly a month now, and individuals and organizations across the state of Ohio are working diligently to share information about this resource with friends, family, and neighbors.
This new, easy-to-remember number can be used by anyone in the United States who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, emotional distress, thoughts of harming others, or substance use concerns. When you dial 988, you will be connected with a trained counselor who will help you reduce the stress of the crisis and find local resources to help support you in the future.
Bridget Britton, Behavioral Health Field Specialist for Ohio State University Extension, recently sat down and recorded a PSA that you can use to spread the word about 988. Watch this short video and then share on your social media pages today! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fse9ryxGjz4&ab_channel=OSUSouthCenters
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been in existence since 2005. The Lifeline has been an invaluable resource for people to use in a suicide crisis situation, and now a new initiative has made it even easier for people to connect with trained counselors in times of distress. Anyone in the United States can now call or text 988 to reach the Lifeline when they are in a state of emotional distress, having thoughts of suicide, having thoughts of harming others, or having substance use concerns.
In addition to the new, easy-to-remember number, the Lifeline has expanded the services it offers. Traditionally, the Lifeline primarily focused on supporting individuals experiencing a suicide crisis situation. It now also offers support for someone who would like to talk through the distress they are experiencing related to anxiety, depression, or substance use.
Just as when people called the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (which will continue to remain in service), a person who calls or texts 988 will be linked to a trained professional such as a counselor, therapist, or social worker for support. These counselors are trained to reduce the stress of the challenge or crisis, provide emotional support, and link the caller to services in their local area for additional assistance. Research has shown that most calls to the Lifeline can be managed or resolved over the phone.
Help us break down the stigma of receiving support by promoting 988! There is no shame in seeking out support.
Here is a list of common signs a person may need to talk with a mental health professional:
- New or unusual fatigue
- Increased irritability
- Depression lasted more than 2 weeks
- Social isolation
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Difficulty following through with tasks at work or school
Most of these signs are compounded on top of each other and last for several weeks.
The switch to the new 988 number has been a work in progress for several years, and it will take some time to spread the word within our communities. You can help spread the word today by sharing this information on your personal or professional social media pages, or by visiting https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/partner-toolkit to find resources that can be shared at locations throughout your community.