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Avera Opens Farmers’ Stress Hotline

Feb 01, 2019 01:30PM ● By MED Editor
Low prices, relentless weather, machine breakdowns, trade turmoil and long hours away from family weigh heavily on the folks sitting alone in tractors or feeding livestock in the middle of the night. 

The pressure to maintain the family farm and home, put children through college and pay every expense in between can be too much as people watch their income decrease little by little over the years. 

Avera and Avera Behavioral Health have started the new Farmers’ Stress Hotline, available to farmers, ranchers and their families. It’s a FREE 1-800 number and available 24/7 for overworked individuals lying awake in worry at night. 

An operator at the Farmers’ Stress Hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-691-4336, takes inventory of callers’ needs and directs them to local care, which may include talk therapy and/or medication management. 

“Farmers are expected to be tough, but that ‘pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps’ mentality is so unfair to them,” said Matthew Stanley, DO, Clinical Vice President for the Avera Behavioral Health Service Line. “Mental health care in our rural population is what we specialize in and we want our agricultural friends to know that we are here for them.” 

Karl Oehlke, ABIM, PA-C, of Avera Medical Group University Psychiatry, also had a hand in the development of the Farmers’ Stress Hotline. “Stress, fear, anxiety, frustration and depression are all words I’ve heard to describe the ag climate,” said Oehlke. “Farming and ranching will never be without unforeseen, uncontrollable challenges, which affect not only the producer, but the family. We encourage anyone experiencing problems to reach out to us.”