A poll found that 61% of farmers and farm workers experienced more mental health challenges in 2021 than in 2020, and an increasing number of farm-related groups are working to reduce the stigma around mental health services. Wisconsin Women in Conservation (WiWiC) is training its members in peer-to-peer mental health support. Over two months, it will coach up to 30 women at a time to recognize signs of stress in farmers, learning to ask gentle but probing questions of their friends and neighbors during conversations and culminating in asking the person who's struggling if they'd be open to hearing a story about a similar challenge or to talk again. Sara George of WiWiC says the strategy suits the farming community's particular needs. There are farmer helplines out there; there's mental health support groups. But I think building up a network in a community is so much more relevant.

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