Mental Health Awareness Month

Nicole Frank, FARM Program Specialist

Every month, and honestly every day, is filled with National Holidays and Celebrations. It can sometimes get very overwhelming and it’s easy to tune out what day or month we are celebrating now….(besides June Dairy Month).

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is a month that we should try to not only recognize in May, but year round. The dairy community has seen its fair share of tragedies and heartaches, and sadly we know there are many people who have succumb to the sadness of those feelings. Farming is tough for families’ physical and mental well-being as many outcomes of farming are uncontrollable. Mental Health, as taboo and disclosed as it might seem, is extremely common. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people struggle with mental health.

As an agriculture community, more and more awareness has been brought to light about mental health. The CDC has found that suicide rates among farmers and farm workers are more than double that of the nation average. Research is also being completed around the topic of mental health and farming. Meagan King, an assistant professor of animal physiology and welfare at the University of Manitoba, has research finding dairy cattle productivity is linked to farmer mental health.

Please look at the below resources to know how to help a friend in the future and take care of yourself. We care about you and want to make sure you are healthy.

Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline


Ted Matthews and Monica McConkey: Rural Mental Health Counselors

  • 320-266-2390 (Ted) or 218-280-7785 (Monica)
  • Ted and Monica work with farmers throughout Minnesota. No cost; no paperwork. This service is funded by the Minnesota Legislature.


University of Minnesota Podcast, “The Moos Room”, dedicates episodes in May to mental health. ‘The Moos Room’ talks about mental health in May | UMN Extension.