Rural communities are made up of so many layers and aspects. Ohio State University Extension has been helping Ohioans to build better lives, better businesses, and stronger communities since 1914.
In March 2019, a rural and farm stress work group was established within OSU Extension to identify resources and build capacity to address various levels of stress felt by our rural clientele. Stress affects us all. Whether it is positive or negative stress, life is full of external pressures that affect our mood, our attitude, and our ability to perform.
Rural communities are unique; and rural residents experience stressors related to economics, drug addiction, sustainable food sources, along with lack of access to medical care services and rural broadband. Farmers (who are part of rural communities) are often burdened with additional challenges and stressors unique to their occupation, including unpredictable weather, labor shortages, market pressures, international trade agreements, and environmental concerns.
Our mission is to collaborate across our Ohio rural communities to identify and disseminate materials that help people where they live and work. The work group understands that stress affects the individuals as well as the agribusinesses that serve the area, and programs for these two audience groups will be different. Personal stress resources will help individuals of all age groups as they cope with their independent situations. Training programs also will be delivered to service providers who work with farm families, including co-op employees, crop production advisors, natural resources officers, veterinarians, bankers, clergy, school teachers, and many others.
Ohio partners are rallying behind the rural stress topic, with new programs and initiatives being created. Three focus areas are organized around critical topics. Initial resources are identified from these sub-groups, with additional materials added during summer 2019. Some resources provide strategies for coping with stress, while others reinforce and empower an individual’s resiliency for handling the rural lifestyle.
Financial pressures impact individuals, as well as their families and businesses. Tools and programs are available for all levels of personal and farm management. Being fiscally ready helps reduce stress.
- OSU Extension Farm Office Website – The Farm Management program provides resources, including budgeting tools, decision-making tools, and data and statistics for those working in agriculture throughout the state of Ohio and beyond.
- OSU Extension Farm Profitability Program – This program uses the FINPACK computer program to analyze farm records. Trained OSU Extension professionals work with farmers and farm families to assist with farm record analysis, interpretation, and management recommendations.
- The Ohio Benefit Bank – make your money go further. Find out if you qualify for budget-stretching tax credits and assistance.
A commitment to lifelong learning is critical to remaining relevant in one’s chosen field of work. The programs of OSU Extension help individuals acquire not only the skills they need in their current jobs, but also those they will need in the future positions to which they aspire. To succeed in a work environment of rapid change requires workers to be mentally and physically prepared, adaptable, and resilient – in a word, healthy.
- Office of Workforce Development – BUILDING Ohio’s Workforce, CREATING Innovative Solutions, PROMOTING Economic Independence and Growth
- Ohio Means Jobs – Ohio Means Jobs centers provide job seekers, employers, and youth with job search assistance, employee recruitment, job training, and more.
- Ohio Development Services Agency – committed to creating jobs and building strong communities, while ensuring accountability and transparency of taxpayer money and exceptional customer service.
Personal Stress Management
If you are feeling overwhelmed and need a place to turn, there are resources and people to help.
You are not alone in navigating the stress.
- National Institute on Mental Health: 5 Things You Should Know About Stress
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or The Crisis Text Line have trained counselors who are ready to listen 24/7. If you would like to talk to someone, call 800-273-8255 or TEXT the word HOPE to 741741.
- Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA) is the statewide organization that represents the interests of Ohio’s county Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health boards at the state level. Each Ohio county has a dedicated mental health and recovery services board.
- OSU Extension Fact Sheet: Stress Coping Methods – The first step in coping with stress is recognizing the signs that you may be experiencing stress.
- OSU Extension Fact Sheet: Introduction to Mindfulness – A fast-paced culture of constant multi-tasking and 24/7 digital connectivity characterizes the opposite of mindful living.
- The Healthy Mind Platter – There are seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain matter and create well-being.