News from Representative Tom Emmer

Dear Friend,

Our nation is in the midst of a suicide crisis, and our farmers are caught in the eye of the storm.

The nature of their work combined with the lack of mental health treatment options available put farmers at a higher risk for suicide and depression. In 2016 report, the Centers for Disease Control found that individuals working in agriculture have the highest suicide rates of any other profession.

Farming is a high-stress occupation. Financial risk, volatile markets, unpredictable weather, heavy workloads, and social isolation can all place a significant strain on a farmer or rancher’s mental health.

Unfortunately there is little or no support for our nation’s farmers mental health or programs available to assist in treating the underlying mental illness.

America suffers from an extreme lack of resources and treatment available for those who suffer from a mental illness. In fact, half the counties in America have no psychologist, no psychiatrist, and no mental health professional. In rural communities, where most of our nation’s farmers and their families live, it’s even worse, and Minnesota is no exception.

As Congress continues to work on a 2018 Farm Bill, I’ve been working on legislation to be included to address the unacceptably high rates of suicide among our farmers.

Ten years ago, the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) was established to offer programs including hotlines and websites, community outreach and education, support groups, and home delivery of assistance for individuals engaged in farming, ranching and other agriculture-related occupations. Despite widespread support for FRSAN, it has never received funding, leaving farmers to suffer in the shadows and without care.

My bill, called the the Stemming the Tide of Rural Economic Stress and Suicide Act (STRESS) Act, which I will soon introduce, would reauthorize FRSAN to turn the tide on the farmer suicide crisis happening right now in Minnesota and across the nation. 

Stay up to date on this legislation by following me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sincerely,

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours every day, at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with them online by clicking here.


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