Farmers Have an Alarmingly High Suicide Rate, and We’ve Known for Decades
Kaleigh Rogers has an interesting report in Motherboard:
Many people have an idealized view of farming as a bucolic profession where days are filled riding tractors and gazing proudly over fields from your front porch. But the reality is that farming is grueling, stressful work—and new data shows it’s an industry associated with higher rates of depression and suicide.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control published a report on suicide rates by occupation groups, and farming, fishing, and forestry topped the list with a suicide rate of 84.5 per 100,000 people. The next highest rate, among workers in the construction and extraction industries, was 53.3. The stats are from 2012, and limited to 17 states, so it only analyzed a fraction of the suicides reported in the US that year (which is partly why they lumped results into broad industry categories). But it’s not the first time researchers have identified higher rates of suicide among farmers: it’s been a perennial finding around the globe for decades.
“It’s not startlingly new to hear that the suicide rate among farmers is high,” said Lorann Stallones, an epidemiologist who researches agricultural health at Colorado State University.
The CDC’s report also complemented unpublished data released by the University of Guelph last week from a recent survey of farmers showing 45 percent of respondents had high stress, 58 percent suffered from anxiety and 38 percent from depression.
“We are not invincible, but we feel we must be,” one respondent wrote in response to a survey question.
“What makes me the most upset is that I have everything I dreamed of—love, family and a farm—and all I feel is overwhelmed, out of control and sad,” wrote another.
Previous research has identified a number of factors that contribute to farmers feeling so blue. For one, . . .