Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has put forth proposed legislation designed to address the mental health needs of farmers.
Gillibrand’s National Agricultural Crisis Hotline Act would establish a 24/7 national crisis hotline to provide real-time live assistance catered to the unique needs of farmers, ranchers and their families. The hotline would be staffed by crisis specialists, licensed health care and mental health professionals with knowledge of the agriculture experience who can provide suicide crisis intervention, mental health and substance use disorder support and agriculture-related referral services.
Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, noted that the suicide rate among farmers in 3.5 times higher than the rate for the general population, a situation exacerbated by the social isolation, fluctuating market conditions and weather uncertainties that frame the lives of many within the agricultural industry.
“New York’s farmers face tremendous stressors: devastating storms, volatile commodity prices, debt, isolation, and the ever-present risk of losing their farms and their livelihoods,” said Gillibrand. “We have to do more to support them. That’s why I’m working to establish a 24/7 mental health hotline tailored to the unique needs of our agricultural workers. This legislation would help save lives in our rural communities and I am determined to get it passed.”