A new research poll from the American Farm Bureau Federation shows that farmers, ranchers and rural residents are becoming increasingly more comfortable with talking about mental health. The poll surveyed rural adults, farmers, and farmworkers and measured the changes in mental health stigmas, personal experiences with mental health, access to resources and information, and comfort in discussing the matter with others. This is good news for Colorado, as the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health Program has been hard at work serving people in rural parts of the state.

Working alongside Morning Consult, AFBF administered the poll to a national sample of 2,000 rural adults. Comparing the results of the survey to previous polls from 2019 and 2020, some key findings show that mental health is becoming less stigmatized and more people are seeking help. 

The report found that over the past year, there has been a decrease in rural adults saying their friends/acquaintances (-4%) and people in their local community (-9%) attach stigma to seeking help or treatment for mental health. However, effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, labor shortages, and financial pressures continue to impact the wellbeing of rural communities and farmers across the country. 

In an effort to fight the mental health crisis facing rural Americans, AFBF has created a directory of resources for those facing challenges. Farm State of Mind is available to anyone seeking information about crisis hotlines, treatment centers and locations, tips for helping others in pain, and resources for managing stress, anxiety, or depression. 

At the state level, Colorado has been on the forefront of addressing mental health concerns by way of the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health Program. Formed by a coalition of agriculture and behavioral health organizations and spearheaded by Colorado Farm Bureau, CAAMHP works to serve farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by severe and persistent drought, instability in the commodities market, misinformation targeting consumers, and rapidly changing political climates. The program aids those struggling with mental health by providing free and anonymous care in partnership with licensed care providers who have been trained to understand the complexities of agricultural stresses. 

“The Colorado Farm Bureau seeks to serve farmers and ranchers. We know and love this community,” said Rebecca Edlund, Associate Director of Technology and Membership for the Colorado Farm Bureau. “At every turn, Farm Bureau has worked to ensure that CAAMHP serves agriculture well. That our members and friends will find a resource that cares well for them because that is our priority first and foremost. We asked you what you needed and we built a program that meets those needs specifically.”

For more information about Farm State of Mind please visit farmstateofmind.org. For more information about the Colorado Agricultural Addiction and Mental Health Program or to request a voucher, please visit caamhpforhealth.org.