Poll shows pandemic’s mental health effects on farmers

Two-thirds of farmers and farmworkers say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and more than half say they’re experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago, according to a poll by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“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,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “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.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Rural adults were split on COVID-19’s impact. Half of rural adults (53%) said the pandemic has affected their mental health at least some, and 44% said it hasn’t affected their mental health much or at all.
  • Younger rural adults were more likely than older rural adults to say the pandemic has affected their mental health a lot.
  • The percentage of farmers and farmworkers who say social isolation affects farmers’ mental health increased 22% since April 2019, “a significant finding given the long hours many farmers work alone,” according to the announcement.

The survey of 2,000 rural adults was conducted by Morning Consult in December. It also identified obstacles to seeking help or treatment for a mental health condition, the most trusted sources for information about mental health, impressions of the importance of mental health in rural communities and the importance of reducing stigma surrounding mental health. A presentation with additional details on the full survey results is available online.