A well-run farm goes beyond the crops’ quality or the livestock pen’s cleanliness. A healthy farm starts with a healthy farmer. Mental health is crucial to weather the storms of agriculture, raise a family and do it all over again in the morning. Managing mental health might not have been on the radar of our parents and grandparents, but it’s no surprise that more farms and farmers are experiencing stress and mental health concerns. Not managing your mental health can leave a farmer isolated and out of touch. This story serves as a positive reminder during Mental Health Awareness Month, as new studies continue to reveal data about how the mental health of farmers cannot be ignored.

Warning signs to look for in a fellow farmer who may be struggling include persistent worry and fear, apprehension and uneasiness, avoidance of others, lack of interest or pleasure in activities, problems sleeping, substance misuse and unexplained changes in appearance or behavior. Communities can band together to support each member, farmers and farming families included. Ending the mental health stigma is critical for the health of American agriculture. We need to make it OK to talk about stress and other mental health issues as a community. Remember, it’s OK to be not OK.

Read more on mental health management for farmers here.