MU Extension & Missouri Partners Mental Health Awareness Month Toolkit

Rural Missouri is historically strong and resilient while dealing with long work hours, weather, disease and insects, government regulations, machinery breakdowns, crop uncertainty, livestock problems, and commodity prices. Worry, isolation, loneliness, stress, and anxiety are challenges everyone faces, especially during these unprecedented times. This reminds us of the importance to evaluate personal health and wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Month.

According to the February 2020 “Growing Stress on the Farm, The Expanding Economic and Mental Health Disparities in Rural Missouri” report, rural Missouri’s mental health crisis is more challenging than in urban areas. It may be especially severe in the agricultural community. Recent studies, media coverage and congressional action suggest that farmers and ranchers face a unique set of external challenges. These result in extremely adverse mental health outcomes in agricultural communities. Pervasive stigma and geographic barriers to accessing mental health care sometimes prevent those seeking behavioral health services for stress, anxiety and depression from receiving it in rural Missouri.

During previous Mental Health Awareness campaigns, messages about mental health awareness and suicide prevention have not specifically targeted rural, agricultural communities. In response to this growing concern, MU Extension and its collaborating partners will participate in the national Mental Health Awareness Month in May 2020.

Please join Missouri’s “Together We Can” movement and national efforts to raise awareness about mental health. This toolkit offers practical resources to help strengthen farmer resilience with coping mechanisms to maintain balance and protect their mental health. Click here for the Mental Health Month Toolkit 

Weekly themes

Mental Health Awareness Week 1 (May 3 – May 9)

Referral Resources Week 2 (May 10 – May 16)

Recognizing Signs & Symptoms Week 3 (May 17 – May 23)

Managing Stress Week 4 (May 24 – May 30)