More Than a Decal

Mental health challenges in the agriculture sector have long been a problem, but only recently have they begun to gain traction in conversations and awareness. 

In fact, research shows that the suicide rate for farmers and ranchers is 3.5 times higher than other professions. That’s one of the reasons we featured Marshal Sewell and Mind Your Melon in the November 2023 issue of Central Florida Ag News.

Now, a new initiative has formed to further raise awareness. The Sumter County Farm Bureau and Everglades Equipment Group have partnered to bring suicide prevention front and center within the agricultural community with a decal that has the potential to make a big difference.

Through this alliance, every John Deere cab tractor Everglades Equipment sells throughout Florida will now feature a decal that bears 988 suicide prevention and lifeline hotline information. 

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress in the United States.

James Sutton, president of the Sumter County Farm Bureau, says the initiative aims to normalize conversations around mental health within the farming community and make sure help is accessible.

In addition to the decals, the Farm Bureau has created a flyer that lists warning signs of when someone may need help, along with the hotline call or text number and mental health resources such as the AFBF Farm State of Mind Resource directory.

While something as simple as a decal may seem like a small initiative, it serves as another much-needed reminder for our growers that it’s okay to need help and that help is a phone call away. Farmers feed our nation. It’s high time their mental health is prioritized.

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