For the second year, the Highland County Community Action Organization and a host of other sponsors will host the Harvesting Healthy Minds Breakfast and Presentation at the Highland County Fair from 9-11 a.m. on Wednesday, 7 september.
The event is organized to connect farmers with local mental health providers and resources, as the farming community faces unique mental health challenges. The event is also part of an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues within the agriculture industry and among farmers.
“One of the reasons we chose this population is that we’ve had an increase in suicide deaths in the farm population here locally,” said Tara Campbell, deputy executive director of the county’s Community Action Organization. of Highland.
Guest speaker Jason Meadows will be part of a breakfast program on Mental Health and Wellness in Agriculture. Meadows hosts the bi-weekly “Ag State of Mind” podcast on the Global Ag Network. He is a husband, father of four boys, rancher, and pharmacist who lives in Missouri and operates a 120-head cow-calf operation.
Her podcast focuses on mental health and how it affects those involved in agriculture. “I will be having conversations with professionals and producers about the issue of mental health in agriculture and how we can adequately address stress,” Meadows said on the Global Ag Network website.
Highland County Community Action received grants last year and this year from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to support the breakfast and presentation. This year’s grant was $30,000.
“This year the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services reached out and they liked our event last year and they asked if we would like to continue and of course we said absolutely,” said Campbell.
In addition to funding the roundtable over breakfast, a portion of the grant money will go towards wellness distribution bags filled with mental health resources that will be distributed over breakfast as well as to participants in the county’s Meals on Wheel program three times a year. .
“Through our partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health, we are able to secure grant funding to host the roundtable and event, but we are also working with our partners to be able to maintain the event if this subsidy disappears. , so the more partnerships we get, the more we are able to continue down the road with the event,” Campbell said.
The event drew 60 attendees last year, and Campbell said she expects 100 this year.
“We also partner with local FFA chapters, and they are able to send students to volunteer at the event and they help serve breakfast and assemble the loot bags,” said Campbell said.
Campbell stressed the importance of organizing a mental health event that specifically addresses the needs of farmers. “The stress of farming itself, along with the financial stress as well as the stress of harvesting or herding, is unique to the farming population, so being able to tailor mental health treatment and mental health resources for them makes it more effective,” she said. .
Those interested in attending the complimentary breakfast and presentation are encouraged to RSVP by contacting Campbell at 937-393-3459 or [email protected].
Contact John Hackley at 937-402-2571.