With Better Data And Community Ambassadors, Researchers Hope To Curb Farmer Suicides 

Suicide rates among rural farmers are among some of the highest in the country. Texas State University social work professor Erica Nason is trying to change that through data research.

By Jill AmentJune 6, 2019 1:01 pm, ,

Farmers are vulnerable to many stressors, most of which they can’t control. Tariffs, droughts, pests and more can affect their operations and, ultimately, their economic status. But with a lack of mental health resources in rural areas, this vulnerability can also mean greater risk for mental health problems. Some researchers are even looking into higher suicide rates among farmers.

Dr. Erica Nason is a professor in the Texas State University School of Social Work who’s researching the experiences and behaviors of these farmers to better understand their mental health needs.

“We are interested in bridging that gap between lack of resources on the ground and mental health education,” Nason says. “We’re going to be working with agriculture students throughout the state of Texas, and providing them with some basic mental health training.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What factors increase farmers’ risk for suicide

– Why suicide data can often be inaccurate

– How Nason plans to combat mental health stigma in farming communities

Support for Texas Standard’s “Spotlight on Health” project is provided by St. David’s Foundation.


Written by Chloe Bennett.