Mental Health in Rural Agricultural Communities

People who have chosen to work in the farming and ranching communities have a persona of being solitary, private folk. Stoic would be an appropriate definition, working from the wee early hours until sundown, with tradition and pure grit their only tools.

However, several independent developments are culminating together to create a perfect storm making life increasingly more difficult for farmers.

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Aging Producers

The median age of the US farmer is now 55, with fewer people willing to take on family run ranches or agricultural businesses. This forces growers to continue to run their productions longer until they are forced to sell family land, or maybe the operation entirely.

Fluctuating Prices

Additionally, prices for commodities are fewer than they’ve been in years, adding to the stress many farmers face. Milk prices are far below the cost of production. Dairy farmers are getting around $15 per hundred pounds of milk, but “hundredweight” cost approximately $22-$25 to produce. This negative cashflow is so abundant that dairy cooperative Agri-Mark recently sent out suicide hotline numbers along with the milk checks out of concern for the safety of it’s producers.

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Time in Nature Important for Kids’ Mental Health

stress free zone

Happy Dancing Turtle has long been an advocate of all people, especially children, getting outside. The mental, physical, and emotional health benefits of time spent outdoors are particularly important to children as they develop, as the impacts are long-lasting and far-reaching. With May being Mental Health Awareness month, it made sense to write about the many benefits to be found by spending time in nature. Then we realized, we’ve already done that. More than once! So, we have compiled links to our past blogs as well as those to other organizations that have written on the topic to make it a one stop shop for all things related to the benefits of the outdoors! Continue reading

Exploring The Relationship between Food and Mental Health

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and you’re getting a bit antsy. Nothing’s going right and you’ve still got a few hours of work before you can head home. You may snip at a co-worker and they’ll notice that you’re getting a little “hangry,” the perfect storm where your mental state is dictated by low blood sugar.

We’ve all been there. It’s nothing a little snack and a walk around the office can’t fix. Just eat this candy bar and you’ll be fine.

That isn’t what I’m talking about.

Some people say, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee! I need my caffeine.”

That, also, isn’t what I’m talking about.

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I’m talking about a direct correlation between mental illness and diet. I wanted to explore research that may have real implications about mental health, namely the long term effects that nutrients have on mental illness.

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Mental Health Awareness Month

Written by Allison Rian

What is resilience? The process of adapting well to changes and/or stressors. Environments can be resilient, communities can be resilient, companies, families, and people can be resilient. “May is Mental Health Month” struck a chord with us. Happy Dancing Turtle promotes resilient living, and we want to acknowledge resiliency in all aspects of the human experience.

The nonprofit Mental Health America has been officially promoting “May is Mental Health Month” since 1949. Their mission statement starts: “Our work is driven by our commitment to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness….” One cannot have wellness without mental wellness. Individuals who are “well” are more resilient, and they bring that into their families, workplaces, and communities.

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