Texas farmers and ranchers face an increased risk for suicide and mental health challenges. This is often due to social and geographical isolation, weather variability such as extreme droughts or flash floods, limited access to health services, and fluctuating commodity prices.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has united with country music artist Jenna Paulette to encourage rural Texans to prioritize mental health.
The Texas Department of Agriculture’s AgriStress Helpline provides 24/7 support to these individuals who are struggling and may need help.
“Even the toughest people need help sometimes,” Miller said. “Not only does the agriculture industry have some of the highest rates of fatalities and injuries across all age groups, but also some of the highest rates of suicide. TDA’s AgriStress Helpline is a great resource for Texas farmers and ranchers for support tailored specifically to the agriculture industry.”
TDA’s AgriStress Helpline is a free and confidential crisis and support line that anyone struggling with challenges can call or text 24/7. While there are a handful of agricultural resource and referral lines out there, this is the only crisis support line currently dedicated to agricultural, forestry, and fishing communities with interpretation services that are provided in 160 languages.
As a Texas rancher, Jenna Paulette knows mental health resources are crucial for Texas farmers and ranchers. Her new music video, “You Ain’t No Cowboy,” depicts the struggles of a man who is wrestling with the demands and pressures of his daily life and seeks help.
As the storyline continues, he works out his issues for the sake of his family and livelihood. Through her music video, Jenna Paulette aims to detach Hollywood’s negative representation of the cowboy by redefining the image of a cowboy as hardworking, loyal, and loving. This narrative hits close to home for the country music singer, who has witnessed a loved one struggle with mental health firsthand.
“The power to change and have a full life is there for the taking; you’re just a decision away from a redeemed life. This video is a call to action for those suffering, and the end is a glimpse of hope into the life of a real man who is on the other side of adversity,” said Jenna Paulette. “The cowboys in my world, including Ross, the love of my life, have overcome many challenges. Ross is 5 years sober, and he plays the cowboy in the video. I met him after he beat his addiction. He made a conscious decision to take his life back, and with grace and the strength of God, good men, and family around him, he was able to do it.”
“There is a stigma around stress and mental health in the agriculture community,” Miller stated. “It’s time we end the notion of this shame and prioritize our mental health. I urge all Texans to invest in their overall well-being by reducing stress levels, staying active, eating healthful meals, and talking to someone if you have concerns or worries.”
For additional information on TDA’s AgriStress Helpline, please click here.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic