Virginia launches mental health helpline for farmers

Watchful Eye

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services (VDACS) has launched a mental health helpline for agricultural producers.

“The physical demands of farming, isolation, weather variability, fluctuating input cost and commodity prices can all impact mental health. Stigma and privacy concerns associated with obtaining mental health services may cause some producers to refuse to seek out these very important resources,” said Matthew Lohr, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in a press release announcing the launch.

Hoping to offer an option that producers find approachable, VDACS has introduced the AgriStress Helpline. The 24/7 resources connect farmers directly to healthcare professionals via phone calls or text, the VDACS media release explained. Crisis specialists have access to a Virginia-specific database of agricultural and health resources, and interpretation services for 160 languages are available.

“The AgriStress Helpline for Virginia is specifically geared to those in the state’s agricultural community who are seeking mental health support. A call or text to 833-897-2474 will put them in contact with trained professionals who can offer support and/or help find mental health resources in a specific area of the state,” said Lohr.

“I am pleased that through our partnership with AgriSafe, we have a dedicated helpline for Virginia agricultural producers. In addition to being a free, confidential resource, this new helpline aids our efforts to promote mental health and stress awareness and broaden the availability of resources to reduce stress points in rural Virginia,” Joseph Guthrie, Commissioner of VDACS added.

Anyone who considers themselves part of Virginia’s agricultural community is encouraged to call or text any time they are in crisis, said Guthrie. He underscored that the helpline is staffed by mental health professionals who are trained to respond appropriately and specifically to agricultural communities with Virginia-specific resources.

Follow the Watchful Eye on Twitter so you never miss a story!

Did You See: Loudoun County added video to its farmer trading cards program?

Comments / 0

Published by

Keeping watch on Virginia and what impacts Virginians

Kilmarnock, VA

More from Watchful Eye

Comments / 0