OSF mental health app a resource for struggling farmers

A local lawmaker and a regional healthcare organization are expressing concern for farmers facing a difficult year in the fields and at the market.

State Rep. Dan Swanson spoke on the House floor, near the end of the session in May, to tell his colleagues that the suicide rate for farmers stands at 84 per 100,000.

He says that’s 50 percent higher than the farm crisis of the 1980s.

“Many of the factors contributing to this are commodity prices, input costs, and weather,” Swanson said to his fellow lawmakers. “Many of us have a lot of input costs already anticipating put a crop in and we won’t be able to do that.”

More than that, many farmers see their work as a part of their identity and more than just a job.

That makes for all the more disappointment and stress when they go through times like now when trade wars and weather are an unwelcome kick-in-the-gut.

Low corn and soybean prices have been traded for wet fields that delayed planting for so long, that many local farmers have said they will collect insurance and move forward next year.

OSF Healthcare’s SilverCloud program has helped at least one local farmer, Matthew Goedeke. Goedeke farms in Knox and Fulton Counties and sells Ag products.

He says the activities, resources, and support on the app are good for self-monitoring his mental health, but also are easy to use from the comfort of the couch or tractor.

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