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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NMSU program aims to reduce suicide rates among farmers, ranchers

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Thursday, January 11, 2024   

A program has launched in New Mexico to help farmers and ranchers experiencing mental-health issues that could lead to suicide.

Workload, debt, production costs -- those are just some of the reasons farmers and ranchers experience mental-health challenges.

The "Here to Help New Mexico" program aims to boost health and wellness resources available in agricultural communities.

Co-director of the Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center at New Mexico State University Tom Dean said farmers and ranchers still struggle with the stigma around mental health.

"One gentleman, kind of opened up and said he was struggling, and the hardest thing that he ever had to do was get out of the pickup and walk across the parking lot to go into a therapist," said Dean. "He said, 'It was the best thing I ever did, too.'"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports suicide rates have been consistently higher in rural areas than in urban areas over the past two decades.

Dean said the New Mexico State University project seeks to enhance existing resources available through the institution's Cooperative Extension Service, the state's Department of Agriculture and the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.

He added that the first step is getting people to have a conversation about such topics as behavioral health.

"We know from the programs that we have put out there," said Dean, "that nobody really wants to talk about themselves or bring up their own situation but they're willing to talk about others and try to help, and I think that helps them directly."

Funding for "Here to Help New Mexico" comes from the state's Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network via a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Disclosure: Rural Democracy Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Health Issues, Rural/Farming, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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