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Farmer mental stress course available for health professionals

By Sean Southard

Frankfort, KY - A free one-hour course designed to aid healthcare professionals in acknowledging and lessening farmer suicides is now available, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles has announced. It was developed by Western Kentucky University.

The course guides healthcare professionals on how to prevent farmer suicide through cultural respect, understanding, sensitivity, and humility (CRUSH). The course will delve into the culture of farming and how knowledge of the agricultural sector can help healthcare workers respond to a farmer in crisis.

The Continuing Education qualifying program is designed for all healthcare professionals and is free and available on CE Central at

"Farmers face a number of risks in their daily jobs, including machinery accidents, chemical exposure, unruly livestock, grain bin entrapment, and severe weather," Commissioner Quarles said. "But many don't consider the incredible pressure on their mental well-being. Courses, like the one developed by Western Kentucky University, can aid our health professionals by helping identify early warning signs of mental stress, helping save lives in the process, and creating a stronger agriculture community."

Across Kentucky there are close to 76,000 farm families providing food for the commonwealth and the country. For many farmers, farming is more than just a job, it is a way of life. While there are many joys associated with farming, there are also a lot of stressors. These stressors have led to high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among the farming community.

The new offering falls in line with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's campaign, "Raising Hope - Supporting Healthy Lives on Kentucky Farms campaign." Raising Hope focuses on improving the mental and physical health of agricultural producers and is a partnership with state universities and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The campaign is supported by appropriations from the Kentucky General Assembly.

This story was posted on 2021-12-21 11:10:28
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