LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Agriculture is among the top-ranked industries considered dangerous for those who work in it.
Dr. Lindsay Chichester and Dr. Brenda Freeman at the University of Nevada Reno are helping administer a survey to help identify significant stressors for farmers and ranchers. The survey is being administered across 13 Western states and four territories as part of the Western Regional Agricultural Stress Assistance Program. Chichester said her ultimate goal is to use information collected from the survey to create programs and resources to help them.
“Unfortunately, Nevada is very green in regard to the mental health services and programs provided to the agriculture community in comparison to other western states. From the survey results we are hoping to build a baseline of where our state agricultural producers are in terms of stress management, coping, and mental health wellness. We can then better determine the best programming or services that may help them. The ultimate goal is to prevent a suicide and/or get people resources so their lives are better,” said Chichester.
Chichester added that farmers’ and ranchers’ unique mental health challenges can be exacerbated by a stigma surrounding mental illness.
“Of course, the stigma of talking about mental health and mental health wellness will continue to be an issue we see in agriculture,” Chichester said.
Farming and ranching typically take place in remote, rural areas. Because of the isolation, the rest of society lacks an awareness of what the job entails — a lot of heavy lifting and uncertainty in the markets.
“Agriculture has consistency ranked in the top three of most dangerous professions. Some of the occupational risks include repetitive motions and heavy lifting, using