Mental health conversations in rural America continue to be laced with stigma and shame. However, a New York dairy farmer is attempting to change the narrative. Founding Rural Minds, Jeff Winton drives home the message that farmers shouldn’t be scared to talk about their problems. The mission hits home for Winton, who lost his nephew to suicide in 2012.
Winton’s goal is to connect with young farmers, who he says, are more open and willing to talk about difficult situations. Connecting with groups such as 4-H and FFA, Winton targets beginning farmers and ranchers who often face unique challenges as they start their farming careers.
The suicide rate for people in rural areas is 64 to 68% higher than urban residents. Winton’s goal with Rural Minds is to focus on the 60 million people who live in rural areas. Farmers and rural residents who need support can reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8.
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