Maine Agriculture, Forestry bureaus create resource webpage to help mental health, wellbeing in rural communities

Sat, 12/12/2020 - 5:15pm

    AUGUSTA – The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's (DACF) Bureaus of Agriculture and Forestry are continuing to increase access to mental health resources for farming and forestry communities. DACF recently added the Mental Health Resources webpage, which contains easily accessible and detailed information about the signs of stress and resources for managing stress and seeking help.

    The new web page intends to provide critical assistance to agriculture and forestry communities experiencing increased pressure due to the pandemic.

    This summer, to bring attention to the importance of mental health and wellbeing, DACF partnered with the Maine Farm Bureau on a mental health mailer designed to create more awareness of declining mental health warning signs.

    "Farming and Forestry are stressful professions, even in the best of times," said Bureau of Agriculture Director Nancy McBrady, in a news release. "COVID-19 and the resulting pressures have heightened those stressors. We developed the webpage to ensure that farmers, forest workers, and their families have the resources they need to thrive."

    The state's agriculture and forestry industries are integral to Maine's heritage and economic prosperity. However, farmers, forest workers, and landowners must balance a myriad of physical, economic, and weather-related challenges every day. Navigating their businesses through the coronavirus pandemic has added additional strain. These stressors can lead to mental and emotional distress, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and even suicide.