GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Farming is a major industry in western Kansas, but a study by the CDC found that farming, fishing, and forestry workers have the highest rates of suicide compared to other professions.
“A lot of what happens with it depends on markets, climate, things that are definitely out of the farmer’s control,” said Megan Garcia with Compass Behavioral Health. “So if there’s a bad year, people can start to feel pretty hopeless.”
Garcia says there are warning signs to watch out for.
“If you hear somebody talking about that they feel like a burden or that they feel trapped and there’s nothing that they can do,” she said, “or that they have no reason to live, those are things to start to pay attention to. If there’s abrupt changes in mood, or if they start sleeping more, sleeping less, or start to drink more alcohol, those are all warning signs to start to watch out for.”
She says if you notice these signs, it’s important to speak up.
“Don’t be afraid to ask somebody if they’re having suicidal thoughts. Also, it’s never a bad idea to reach out to a professional and to involve your local mental health center or private practitioners that you know.”
While farming communities generally have fewer healthcare options than cities, rural communities still have resources available.
“We actually have 13 counties that we cover within Compass,” said Garcia, “and that includes four regional offices and several satellite clinics, so we are all over southwest Kansas.”