Stress and Mental Health

Stress, suicide, and mental health conditions impact agricultural communities, where economic, social, and environmental forces challenge the health and safety of farmers.

Farming is one of the most physically dangerous occupations; many are injured or die while on the job. Farming is also mentally and emotionally challenging, with multiple economic, social and environmental forces confronting farm families and rural communities. Add in the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many individuals may feel overwhelmed with the effects of stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

In response to a growing concern about the lack of resources and support for farmers, farm workers and families, UMASH has been working to build partnerships to stimulate innovation and action in the region.


Customizable Signs and Symptoms of Stress Poster

Help spread awareness about stress and mental health.

The Signs and Symptoms of Stress card is also available as a landscape 11 x 8.5 poster with space for co-branding with your organization’s information and resources.

If you are interested in an editable template, please email umash@umn.edu.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Call or text 988 for free, confidential, 24/7 mental heath support

Or visit 988lifeline.org to chat


Recursos en Español
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To build upon the ideas generated in the Building Resilient Agricultural Communities forum, UMASH invited partnership proposals that would address forum themes and build partnerships in the region to respond to the needs. Sixteen proposals were received and three were selected to partner with UMASH.

Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture

Doris Mold
Past-President, American Agri-Women; Minnesota Agri-Women District 11 President; Farm Business Management Instructor

Megan Roberts
Extension Educator, Co-Leader Minnesota Women in Ag Network, University of Minnesota Extension

The Cultivating Resiliency for Women in Agriculture has concluded their initial partner project with UMASH. This project developed a number of resources for women as many farm families and rural communities faced ongoing economic hardship and the consequential effects of stress and depression. The project featured an online early-stress-detection questionnaire, a virtual telehelp webinar series (live and recorded), and in-person presentations at women’s conferences (prior to COVID 19 restrictions)

With additional funding the project was able to continue their work beyond the initial partner project. The team is able to reach a larger audience of men and women in agriculture with the needed tools to address stress and depression.


Stress and Mental Health Conversations with Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety

Carolyn Sheridan, RN, BSN

Founder, Ag Health & Safety Alliance

Gear Up for Ag Health and Safety™, Ag Health and Safety Alliance’s interactive and educational program focused on young adults in agriculture, incorporated an innovative tool focused on stress in the next generation of agriculture. Stress and Mental Health Conversations was able to develop a short video (motion graphic) as a means to introduce the topic and start the conversation of stress and mental health across generations. The project focused on students in post secondary agriculture education. Many of these young adults are not only struggling with their own personal stress but they are also observing the stress and mental health issues of their family members, which can include parents, grandparents and other family members.

The program is ongoing and has been added to the curriculum for continued and expanded reach including many regions of the United States, 5 provinces in Canada with an expansion to Australia and Nordic countries.


Using Stories and Education to Build Resilient Agricultural Communities

Sue Abderholden, MPH

Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota

Wil Sampson-Bernstrom
Health and Wellness Community Educator, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota

NAMI Minnesota utilized a two part strategy to deliver their partner project program between 2018 and 2020. Using Stories and Education to Build Resilient Agricultural Communities delivered a program to 1. normalize stress and poor mental health and 2. train community member on the warning signs of suicide in rural MInnesota. NAMI Minnesota teamed up with various community partners in agriculture to offer the Farmer’s QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) for Agricultural Communities. These partners include Land O’ Lakes, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the University of Minnesota Extension, and local clinics and hospitals.

NAMI MInnesota successfully continued their Farmer’s QPR trainings online after the onset of COVID-19 and plan to continue this program throughout Minnesota.



UMASH and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) hosted a one-day working forum, “Building Resilient Agricultural Communities” at the University of Minnesota on June 20, 2018.

This event brought together stakeholders from across Minnesota to explore the stress and mental health challenges that farmers, agricultural workers, and their families experience and stimulate new and existing partnerships to identify gaps in community-based programs and health services.



If you have questions, comments or you would like to connect with UMASH regarding this topic, please contact:
Megan Schossow schos021@umn.edu