Beliefnet
Depression Help

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When I started looking at depression in farmers, I was stunned by how high the numbers are for farmer suicides and depression. In the U.S., the rate of farmer suicides is just under two times that of the general population. Worldwide, farmer suicide rates are the highest for any occupation. In fact, farmer suicides are an international crisis.

High stress combined with frustration can lead to depression. If you start believing you have nowhere to turn for help, the idea of suicide starts looking good. The stigma of depression prevents many from speaking out or getting help.

I’ve written several articles about this for the Huffington Post. That’s where Himanshu Singh, co-founder of the Agri Tech company Farm At Hand, found me. Himanshu Singh read my article Why Farmer Suicide Rates Are The Highest of Any Occupation. It had made everyone in his office stop and think.

“With a growing population and so many uncontrollable variables, much pressure and stress is placed on the farmers that feed us. It’s a fact that doesn’t cross the minds of most as we go through the checkout at the grocery store,” says Himanshu Singh.

Farming is a high stress occupation in which the job merges with personal identity. Relationships quickly become complicated if the job becomes the only focus. Children don’t always become farmers. Many leave farm life forever, but some of those who return to the family farm bring innovations in technology and management that help reduce the stress of farming.

Himanshu Singh calls himself an “an honorary farmer.” The other co-founder of Farm At Hand, Kim Keller, is a third-generation farmer. Kim is one of those young people who left the farm and joined the corporate world, only to return to farm life. Ms. Keller realized that certain stresses of the job could be eliminated or at the very least reduced by using technology. She teamed up with Himanshu Singh and formed Farm At Hand, a free multi platform cloud based farm management program that tracks everything from seed to sale.

“As arable land continues to decline and global population continues to rise, there is increased pressure on farmers to be more productive and efficient in everything they do. A well-run and efficient farm doesn’t benefit just the farmer but everyone they help feed. By offering Farm At Hand for free to the farmer, we hope to do our part in helping farms become more efficient.”

It’s great to hear about people like Himanshu Singh and Kim Keller who are helping farmers. Farmer stress isn’t just a third world problem. It’s a concern in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and other industrialized countries.

“Remember that you’re not alone out there,” Kim Keller reminds farmers. “Each farmer is or has gone through those same emotions and stress you may currently be experiencing. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you may need it. Everyone around you will thank you for it.”

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