Social media campaign pushes to address farmer mental health

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Eleva (WQOW) – Farmer suicide rates are on the rise. Data shows calls to the Wisconsin Farm Center, which helps distressed farmers, were up 33 percent at the end of 2018.

Now, the Wisconsin Farmers Union is starting a social media campaign to connect people in rural areas with farmers around them to look out for each other.

Using the hashtag #FarmNeighborsCare, rural residents can share photos or posts of themselves meeting up with neighbors for a meal or a simple conversation.

Ed Gorell of Eleva is a district director for the farmers union. He said it is also important to look for anything out of the ordinary, as it may be a sign someone is struggling.

“When I’m in that milk truck and even when I’m in my personal vehicle, I watch these farms as I drive by to see changes,” Gorell said. “You know, maybe somebody put flowers out by the mailbox in the spring and they’ve done that for 20-some years that I’ve noticed, and all of the sudden it stops. That’s something you can pick up on, that there’s been a change there.”

Gorell said with or without the hashtag, everyone can benefit from connecting face-to-face with others.

Mary Pautsch

Mary Pautsch

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