Addressing Farm Stress through Extension Mental Health Literacy Programs

Courtney Cuthbertson, Cheryl Eschbach, Gwyn Shelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agricultural producers have worse mental health than the general population, and often have limited access to mental health providers. Educational programs can strengthen knowledge of mental health including warning signs of stress and suicide, as well as assist individuals in developing communication skills and help-seeking behaviors. Cooperative Extension, the nation’s academic outreach unit provided by land-grant universities, has a long history of providing agricultural education programs in the United States; this article describes the expansion of such programs to include mental health education for farmers and agricultural stakeholders in Michigan. Evaluation results of two programs developed by Michigan State University Extension demonstrate the programs are effective in improving understanding of agricultural economic trends, impacts of stress on the body, and warning signs of suicide among agricultural producers and stakeholders. Community-based education increases the capacity for mental health literacy programs to reach distressed farmers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Agromedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cooperative extension
  • farmers
  • mental health
  • mental health literacy
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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