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Mental Health Resources
Our farming and forestry industries are integral to Maine’s heritage and economic prosperity. Healthy farms and farm families produce essential foods and products, while resilient forestry workers and woodlot owners maintain our forests and supply our vital forest products market. These industries are the backbone of Maine’s communities. However, farmers, forest workers and landowners must balance a myriad of physical, economic, and weather-related challenges, in addition to navigating their business during a pandemic. These stressors can lead to mental and emotional distress, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of these warning signs and resources so you or someone you know can get help.
On this page:
- Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Crisis
- Wellness Tips
- How Stress Can Physically Affect You
- Crisis Hotlines
- Agricultural Focused Resources for Managing Mental Health
- Maine Resources for Maintaining Emotional Health and Wellbeing
Warning Signs and Symptoms of a Crisis
Communicating the following:
- Thoughts of suicide and having no reason to live
- Feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
- Being a burden on others
- Unbearable pain
Displaying these moods:
- Depression, loss of interest
- Anger, rage, irritation
- Extreme mood changes including uncontrollable highs and lows
Exhibiting these behaviors:
- Decline in care of crops, animals, or farm
- Decline in care of tending the woodlot, or forestry business
- Increase in farm and forestry related accidents
- Loss of farm and forest production
- Searching for resources and means online for ending one’s life
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Withdrawing from activities once enjoyed and isolating from family and friends
- Exhibiting signs of aggression, fatigue, and excessive worrying or fear
- Too much or too little sleep
- Making final arrangements and saying goodbyes
- Poor hygiene
- Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, or make decisions
- Maintain a social network
- Take 15 minutes each day to have an uninterrupted conversation with a family member or friend.
- Don’t shut out family members from your life.
- Maintain friendships and seek opportunities to connect or reconnect with old friends.
- Be aware
- Know your stressors and how stress manifests in your life.
- Accept that some stress is out of your control. However, make a plan on working towards a solution instead of focusing on what you can’t control.
- Nurture yourself
- Eat healthy
- Get outside and get fresh air
- Get enough sleep
- Find hobbies and activities you enjoy
- Set goals
- Set aside time to plan your day and prioritize your tasks.
- Plan ahead for difficult seasons and delegate work.
- Discuss farm operational needs but don’t let them occupy all other aspects of life.
- Seek constructive feedback on farm operations for ways to grow or improve.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed step back. Take a moment to assess the situation and brainstorm solutions. Break those solutions up into manageable steps and take it one step at a time.
- Cultivate a productive mind
- Give yourself a break. Take regular 5-10 minute breaks to relax and recharge.
- Reach out to professionals and counselor with concerns.
- Learn to say no.
- Practice deep breathing and meditation to relax your mind in stressful times and when trying to sleep.
How Stress Can Physically Affect You
- High heart rate, high blood pressure
- Shortness of breath, tightness in the chest
- Nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, legs feel shaky
- Sweaty palms, tapping fingers, grinding teeth
- Headache, backache, fatigue
- Loss or increased appetite
- Maine Crisis Services: 888-568-1112
- Peer Support Warmline: 866-771-9276
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- Teen Text Support Line: 207-515-8398
- 211 and 211maine.org: for COVID19 related information and access to behavioral health and social service resources
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
- Maine Mobile Health: 888-351-9634 - Support for farmers and farmworkers
- Farm Coaching from UMaine: 800-287-1458 – Discuss planning, stress, and decision making
Agricultural Focused Resources for Managing Mental Health
- AgriSafe - A non-profit founded by rural nurses provides an extensive collection of current factsheets and webinars to improve the health and safety or farmers and ranchers.
- Farm Aid – Referral hotline provides support services to farm families in crisis. Financial assistance for natural disasters is also available.
- Identifying Signs of Stress Fact Sheet (NY FarmNet) - How to identify farm family stress and how to offer your support.
- Rural Resilience: Farm Stress Training - Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and suicide, effectively communicate with people under stress, reduce stigma related to mental health concerns, and connect farmers and ranchers with resources.
- University of Maine Extension’s Farm Coaching team provides guidnace and support to help farmers navigate social, emotional, and relational issues.