A majority of farmers and rural Americans admit the COVID-19 virus outbreak and resulting government control actions have affected their mental health. More than half of the farmers and farm workers surveyed in a national poll say they are experiencing mental health issues that they were not dealing with a year before.

A large majority of farmers and farm workers say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their mental health, and more than half say they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago, according to a new American Farm Bureau poll. The national farm organization worked with Morning Consult to conduct the survey.  The American Firm Bureau conducted its first mental health survey of rural America in 2019 and the current poll shows many stark contrasts. Mainly due to the virus.

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Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says of the results, “My takeaway from this survey is that the need for support is real and we must not allow lack of access or a ‘too tough to need help’ mentality to stand in the way. We are stepping up our efforts through our Farm State of Mind campaign, encouraging conversations about stress and mental health and providing free training and resources for farm and ranch families and rural communities. The pandemic added a mountain of stress to an already difficult year for farmers and they need to know that sometimes it’s OK not to be OK, that people care, and that there’s help and hope.”

Some of the standout results of the survey include two-thirds of agricultural professionals and farmworkers say the virus situation has created an impact on their mental health. The number of farmers and farmworkers who believe social isolation is an important aspect of their mental health is up 22% over 2019. When looking at the hours many work alone, that is a telling impact of the virus outbreak and government restrictions on activities and travel.

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