Video about mental health in agriculture

For many years, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts have been instrumental in efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues in the agricultural community.

Grant Heinrich, featured in a video on mental health in agriculture, sits in his office at Pro-Agri Sprayng Inc. (Photo courtesy of Pine Curtain Film Company)

Most recently, two of these AgriLife Extension experts partnered with Southwestern Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Educationalso known as the Southwest Ag Center, to help create a testimonial video about a farmer’s personal experience of suicide.

“The purpose of the video was to raise awareness of the unique stressors faced by those who work in agriculture and to encourage those who may be struggling to speak up,” said Mikaela Smith of Lubbock, AgriLife Program Specialist Extension agency. Disaster and Assessment Recovery Unit. “It was done by sharing the moving and very personal experience of the suicide of one farmer and a farming family.”

Smith and Tiffany Lashmet, JD, agricultural law specialist at AgriLife Extension Department of Agricultural Economicsbased in Amarillo, provided their expertise in video content and production in addition to helping select the story featured in the video.

About the video

Duration about 12 minutes video,”Farmer Mental Health with Grant Heinrich“, is the fourth episode Home, safe home series produced by the Southwest Ag Center that shows farm families how to “protect their legacy” through health and safety.

The video tells the personal experience of Grant Heinrich, a graduate of West Texas A&M University and a location manager for Pro-Agri Spraying Inc. in Slatan, who recently faced the specter of suicide after previously losing an uncle and two cousins. the same fate.

“The video examines not only the stressors of farming life, but also the mindset of a farmer or rancher, and how qualities such as independence and self-reliance can prevent them from seeking professional help in times of personal crisis.” , – said Smith.

Smith and Lashmet said they chose Heinrich to be in the video not only because he and his family were deeply affected by the suicide, but also because he was “honest and honest about his experience” and told them that ” will do whatever it takes to help prevent other families from losing a loved one to suicide.”

Also, September Suicide Prevention Month and two AgriLife Extension specialists expressed hope that the timing of the video, which will be released on September 23, will help raise public awareness of suicide among agricultural communities.

Both also said the topic is vital and in line with AgriLife Extension’s mission to improve the lives of Texans, noting that the agency will continue to address mental health and suicide prevention issues.

The video ends with an advertisement for the 988 suicide and crisis rescue service. It also encourages families and farm and ranch workers to call or text AgriStress Helpline for Texas at 833-897-2474 to speak with professionals who know the challenges and stresses of farming life.

The Texas Department of Agriculture allowed AgriLife Extension and the Southwest Ag Center to work together on the video, which is part of the larger Seasons Change|You Remain outreach campaign.


The study found that those who work in agriculture are more likely to suffer from depression, substance use and suicide compared to those who work in other occupations. In addition, data from c Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the number of farmer suicides has increased by 40% over the past two decades.

Reflecting on the topic of mental health, Grant Heinrich kneels in a cotton field
Grant Heinrich kneels in a cotton field on his family farm. (Photo courtesy of Pine Curtain Film Company)

Isolation, access to and cost of professional treatment, and the stigma associated with seeking help remain barriers to those in agricultural and rural communities seeking the mental health care they need.

“Those engaged in agriculture and agriculture-related activities often face high levels of stress because many factors that affect their lives and livelihoods are beyond their control,” Lashmet said. “Much of this stress arises from uncertainty about things beyond human control, such as the weather and adverse changes in market conditions. Other contributing factors can include things like isolation and lack of resources.”

She said a lack of control over one’s life and livelihood can lead to chronic stress, which in turn can lead to a person’s mental health problems.

“When a person can’t deal with that kind of stress, it often leads to a negative mental state and possibly suicidal thoughts,” she said.

Lashmet also noted that finding help for mental health issues can be even more difficult for people living in rural or agricultural communities, as they are often isolated and far from mental health resources and services.

“There can also be problems finding resources and help online, as the Internet is often limited or unreliable in many rural areas,” she noted.

AgriLife Extension’s other mental health efforts

AgriLife Extension has additional resources and staff to promote mental health and suicide awareness. These include:

— “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Resources” posted on Lashmet’s Texas Farm Law Blog.

Podcast episodes on mental health and agriculture on Lashmet’s Law Ag in the Field podcast.

— Free publication “Suicide prevention among farmers and livestock breeders” on Texas agrarian prowess site. The Texas AgrAbility Project is part of AgriLife Extension and provides services to individuals with disabilities, chronic illnesses and functional limitations to enter or continue in production agriculture.

— “How you can educate yourself and others during National Suicide Prevention Month,” posted on the Texas AgrAbility website.

In addition, some AgriLife Extension offices offer mental health first aid training and offer Mindful Less Stress and Mindful Self mindfulness programs for adults and youth. Check with your local AgriLife Extension county office to see if it offers these services. For a list of AgriLife Extension offices, follow the link

AgriLife Extension also offers virtual mental health first aid training. These trainings teach participants how to identify, understand, and respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. They also help develop the skills needed to provide initial support to someone who may be experiencing mental health or substance use problems and help connect them to appropriate help. For more information, contact Rachel Browner, AgriLife Extension Program Specialist at 979-321-5021 or

As part of a new grant, AgriLife Extension’s Texas AgrAbility program is partnering with AgriSafe Networkwhich offers a variety of resources, courses and training for service providers, farmers and ranchers, including AgriStress Helpline – AgriSafe Network. AgriSafe has also partnered with several states/government agencies, including the Texas Department of Agriculture, to establish a 24-hour mental health helpline for farmers and ranchers.

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