Texas Department of Agriculture seeking $500,000 for mental health resources

AgriStress helpline for farmers and ranchers, (833)897-2474
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 9:19 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Texas Department of Agriculture is asking for help to sustain a mental health hotline for farmers and ranchers.

The department is asking for $500,00 a year for the Farmer Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. The money would go toward the toll-free helpline, AgriStress, geared toward producers and their families.

The CDC reports from 2000 to 2020 suicide rates increased 46% in rural areas and 27% in urban areas.

Commissioner Sid Miller is aware of the high suicide rates in the agriculture industry, so he started AgriStress because of the concern he had with farmers and ranchers’ mental health.

“We have a lot of farmers going through some tough times, drought, tariff war, the freeze,” Commissioner Miller said. “It’s just tough if you’re a seventh or eighth generation farmer, and you’re head of the family and the farm goes on the auction block.”

Commissioner Miller says the department is getting the word out by putting cards with the number in livestock entry packets at all of the major stock shows and putting the number in newsletters.

He says within the past year, when the number was created, 60 calls have come in. Commissioner Miller says every person has been helped.

Commissioner Miller says this is the beginning and will be improving.

For 24/7 help any day of the year call the AgriStress helpline at (833)897-2474.