Suicide rates up for rural farmers

Suicide rates up for rural farmers

WEINER, Ark. (KAIT) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported suicide rates among rural farmers has gone up, according to a report this week from content partner Talk Business & Politics.

Farmers and those who live in rural areas have higher suicide rates due to a lack of mental health care, according to the CDC.

A Region 8 farmer, Scott Matthews, said there are some things missing in the rural portions of Arkansas.

“The thing we’re probably missing now is mental support,” Matthews said. “A lot of these guys are just overwhelmed.”

Money, weather and economy play a role in the farmers’ stress, Matthews said.

He said his farm is struggling.

“It has been wet for eight months,” Matthews said. “That’s never happened in my farming career of 30 years. We might not get our rice in for the first time ever.”

The biggest challenge for farmers: the unpredictable weather.

“In the last 10 years, the weather has really changed and it’s hard to farm around weather,” Matthews said. “Since ’09, that’s about all we’ve had are extreme weather events.”

Matthews said he’s hopeful for a change in availability for mental health care for rural farmers.

I’m almost positive that we’re going to see more support for farmers, mental health.” Matthews said. “It’s almost got to happen. Just because the level of stress that we deal with on a daily basis.”

If you know of a farmer suffering from mental health issues, click here.

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