Help Yourself (or Others) during Stressful Periods

A color graphic of the human brain.

Brain photo used on this page under exclusive license agreement with Shutterstock, by Sebastian Kaulitzki

Because of the high stress levels in farm communities, people who work in agriculture experience higher reported rates of depression and suicide. The following checklist provided by the National Institute of Mental Health lists some common symptoms depression.

To help decide whether you or people you care about need support and treatment for depression, please review this checklist and mark the symptoms that apply. If you experience any of these symptoms for longer than two weeks, if you feel suicidal, or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, see your family doctor and bring this list with you. As a first step, your doctor or another health professional may recommend a thorough examination to rule out other illnesses.

Symptoms of Clinical Depression:

✓    Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

✓    Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism

✓    Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

✓    Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities

✓    Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”

✓    Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

✓    Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

✓    Appetite and/or weight changes

✓    Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts

✓    Restlessness, irritability

✓    Persistent physical symptoms

There are resources on suicide and suicide prevention that vary from state to state and across communities.  If you’re thinking about suicide, worried about a friend or loved one, or would like support, a Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.  It is free of charge and confidential.  Call 1-800-273-8255 or visit

Original Source:  “Farm Stress and Decision Making During Challenging Times”

AUTHOR:  Content in this post adapted from original article by John Shutske, Ph.D, Professor and Extension Specialist, Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension.