Across the United States, the Ag community is working to address the growing program of farmer suicides. According to the latest figures from the CDC, while the suicide rate in the Ag industry is not dissimilar from the general population, the suicide rate among male farmers is twice as high as the non-farm community.
In an effort to get farmers needed help, Washington State University Extension in Skagit County recently launched a suicide prevention program, with tools, videos and resources to help farmers of all ages.
Program manager Don McMoran is a 4th generation farmer in western Washington. He said many don’t appreciate the pressure those in the Ag community feel to continue on a proud family history.“Right now, I’m sitting in the house that my great-great-grandfather built, and there’s tremendous pressure on me to make sure that the farm, the house, everything that the generations before me have built, that I can keep that intact.”
McMoran said farming is, often, a job of isolation, leading many to feel like they must overcome bad yields, short incomes, growing debt or general depression on their own. He says farmers should not feel like they are on an island.
“It’s all across the United States where these sorts of situations are happening and the important thing that we found is, we just need to come together, we need to talk about these things, and bring awareness to these situations and try to work ourselves out of it. And hopefully do that in a healthy way as well.”
McMoran said WSU-Skagit County is working with the state Department of Health about securing additional funds to offer the suicide prevention program statewide.
Vist WSU-Skagit County’s Website to learn more about the program.
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