Farming is a high-risk industry and farm incomes are impacted by many factors including weather, market prices, interest rates, and regulatory requirements. Suicide rates among farmers tend to be higher than most other industries. Rural mental health is a complex topic, with factors such as low access to care and stigma about seeking care potentially affecting outcomes.
Trainee Erin Morley (MS 2019) examined the association between health insurance and healthcare-seeking behaviors among farmers in the Midwest. Lack of health insurance was identified as a stressor among farmers and the type of insurance affected when farmers would visit a healthcare provider.
Pictured: Erin takes a selfie with her thesis committee. From left to right: Dr. Diane Rohlman (thesis supervisor and advisor), Dr. Carri Casteel (thesis committee member), Erin Morley, and Dr. Brandi Janssen (thesis commitee member).
Recognizing that rural areas often have limited mental health providers, Trainee Kyle Godwin (MS 2019) used Iowa Death Certificate records to examine the association between farmer suicide and access to care. His research found that suicide rates were higher in counties that had a certified mental health clinic, suggesting that the presence of a mental health clinic in a rural area may not be sufficient to overcome other barriers to seeking care.
Pictured: Kyle takes a selfie with his thesis committee. From left to right: Dr. Diane Rohlman (thesis committee member), Kyle Godwin, Dr. Corinne Peek-Asa (thesis committee member), and Dr. Brandi Janssen (thesis supervisor and advisor).