Avera Behavioral Health Hotline is Helping Farmers Reduce Stress

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – This year has been a troubling year for farmers.

Only 44 percent of corn farmers have been able to plant.

With the accumulation of later plant dates and stress, Avera just wants to let farmers know they are one call away.

“What we’re trying to do is offer-up an easy access point to start discussing what’s going on,” said Dr. Matthew Stanley, Avera Behavioral Health Vice President.

The hotline has been in effect since last fall, but now Avera says they been receiving an uptick in calls.

“I think the other thing we fall to realize is these are small businessmen; they’re economic engines. They’re really what kind of makes South Dakota go,” said Dr. Stanley. “They have communities that really rely on their input.”

Avera leadership says that the stress farmers are under can lead to mental health issues.

This hotline can be the first step for farmers seeking help.

“If you been going through a long series and you’re not sleeping at night,” said Jim Woster, retired livestock marketer. “We all been there to a degree. All of a sudden you just can’t do it anymore and you don’t know what to do you got someplace where you can call, and someone to talk to. I think that’s a big thing.”

The call is anonymous. Farmers will be able to talk to trained Avera counselors.

“The line is not necessarily to counsel people at that moment. But to access where they’re at or the friend or loved one or whoever it is that needs help. Talk them through what the next step would be,” said Dr. Stanley.

The helpline is open 24/7 and is toll-free; the number is (800) 691-4336.

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