There are some occupations that stress the human body in a physical way and there are other practices that strain the brain. In a subset of cases, certain jobs are high-stress in both respects. Over time, these lines of work can cause a number of related health problems to arise and eventually hinder a person’s ability to perform the role he or she is assigned to do. This vicious cycle characterizes many occupations in California, but an overlooked one is the farmer. Surprisingly, data show that many of these workers in the field can effectively manage a surplus of stress.
There is an extensive list of studies that have showcased the influences of farming on mental health. They include:
- A 2003 study entitled, “Mental health of British farmers,” where Dr. H.V. Thomas of Cardiff University School of Medicine and colleagues found that only 6 percent of farmers reported clinically significant psychiatric symptoms, after surveying a total of 425 participants in local areas
- A 2005 research project called, “Depression in farmers and farming families,” from the University of Melbourne and other Australian schools and hospitals that uncovered farmers were actually less likely to be depressed and anxious compared to their non-farming counterparts
- Another Australian publication in 2005 from Bendigo Health Care Group in Victoria titled, “Farming and mental health problems and mental illness,” reviewed 52 papers dealing with farmers and their stress-related coping skills. Results showed that although farmers do face an unbalanced proportion of stressors than other demographics, the overall data did not support that farmers or their families developed a higher prevalence of mental issues
Farmers specifically in California face an additional obstacle while maintaining their psychological well-being. Amidst California’s devastating drought, the state has declared it will not deliver 80 percent of requested agricultural water this year, making 2015 the second year that the Central Valley will not receive additional water to grow crops. In a report from UC Davis, farmers lost over $1.5 billion in 2014, which led to a downsizing of 17,000 jobs and the abandonment of countless acres of growing food. With the added tension of financial insecurity, it is important that these valued workers find support and other helpful resources within their local communities.
Overall, academic authors agreed that members of this industry typically have a set of personal attributes that increase their resilience to their work’s unique challenges and the psychological distress that may also arise. If you or a loved one is dealing with crippling amounts of stress, discover rehabs in Southern California and dual diagnosis treatment centers in California by contacting the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline online or calling for effective and long-lasting support.