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Farmers help others through mental health training

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A farmer who lost a friend to suicide is now an advocate for farmer mental health. Meredith Bernard grows crops and raises cattle with her husband in North Carolina. She was a panelist on an American Farm Bureau convention session on mental health challenges who says training has helped her reach out to other farmers who are struggling.

“I’m not a doctor, I’m not a counselor, I’m not a professional at this but we don’t have to be. There’s still things we can learn through training.”

Bernard says every farmer is under stress and at times it’s relentless, which can add to mental health struggles. She says farmers are not ‘gamblers’ but they are gamblers in their work, “Because everything we do seems to be a gamble as a farmer. We don’t buy lottery tickets but we buy cows! And we plant crops and it’s just every day it feels like it’s a gamble and we don’t know what we’re going to wake up to.”

She and her husband had to replant four or five times last year because of flooding.

Mental health training is free to Farm Bureau members through its program Farm State of Mind. Bernard says just listening to people going through struggles can be a big help to them.

Bernard hosts a You Tube program called This Farm Wife.

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