Noem urges farmers to consider calling stress hotline

June 6, 2019

Gov. Kristi Noem has taken to the airwaves to remind farmers of a free stress hotline available to help them cope with what she calls historically tough times.

Noem released a public service announcement for the 24-hour hotline created by Avera earlier this year.

“I farmed and ranched for many years in South Dakota, but what we are seeing now are historically tough times. Flood damage, wet fields, a difficult and unpredictable ag environment,” she says in the announcement. “It can all add up to a heavy burden of stress.”

Farmers, ranchers and people who live in rural communities can call 800-691-4336 at any time of the day or night. The call is free and confidential. The hotline is staffed by trained assessment counselors who put callers in touch with local mental health resources. Avera is one of only a few health systems nationwide with a hotline similar to this, the organization said.

“Farmers are expected to be tough, but that ‘pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps’ mentality is so unfair to them,” said Dr. Matthew Stanley, clinical vice president for the Avera Behavioral Health service line. “Mental health care in our rural population is what we specialize in, and we want our agricultural friends to know that we are here for them.”

Jim Woster knows that mentality well. The longtime ag-business consultant serves as an advocate for famrers and ranchers in South Dakota and said hard times build up.

“This is the third year in a row of net farm income decline, and input prices keep going up, making work in agriculture that much harder,” Woster said, adding he thinks the hotline will be an effective resource.

“Today’s farms are often partnerships between wives and husbands and children,” he said. “If this hotline can help just one person, it’ll be worth it.”

Chamber’s farmer-appreciation gesture leads to viral social media post

Noem urges farmers to consider calling stress hotline

Gov. Kristi Noem has taken to the airwaves to remind farmers of a free stress hotline available to help them cope with what she calls historically tough times.

News Tip

Have a business news item to share with us?

Scroll to top