Local suicide prevention groups creates ‘Save A Shore Farmer’ program

47 ABC – There’s no denying that farmers and those in the agricultural businesses have a tough job. Getting up at the crack of dawn, working all day in the fields until sundown, 365 days out of the year.

It’s a taxing job and one that doesn’t stop or get any easier. It’s also never a guaranteed money-maker.

Local farmer Jason Anderson tells 47 ABC, “They’re putting products or crops into the ground in the spring and just hoping that it survives and they can make a little bit of money off it in the fall, but they still have no idea what’s going to happen in the in-between time.”

It’s a tough career and according to the CDC, it can cause serious mental health issues. A recent report for suicide risk by occupation shows that people in agriculture are 3.4 times more likely to die by suicide.

That’s why the Suicide Prevention Coalition of the Eastern Shore is stepping in to help with their ‘Save a Shore Farmer’ program.

“For farmers and people who are in rural areas who typically are very private, who do not want to divulge their problems especially mental problems. We knew that was not going to happen so instead we decided to craft a program that will reach these families more one and one, more in the privacy of their own home,” explains Ron Pilling of the Jesse Klump Memorial Fund.

They’re utilizing billboards, a website and informational pamphlets at places farmers are likely to frequent. With guides for formal therapy like  psychiatry to things like life coaches and yoga.

It’s something Anderson says is a great, but challenging start.

“I think it’s great to bring some awareness to the agricultural sector, you know, I think it’s going to be tough to get the people that are involved in Ag to relate with it and admit if they have an issue that they might need some help or reach out and try and get that help.  But, hey it’s a great start!”

The CDC also found that watermen and people in forestry are also at a higher risk to die by suicide. So it’s not just farmers, it’s several industries  that the Eastern Shore depends on.

And if you are or someone you know is struggling with mental health or want to learn more about the resources available you can visit the Save a Shore Farmer website or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Categories: Health, Local News, Maryland