Free mental health services for farmers

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (Valley News Live)-- In 40 years of farming, there aren't a lot of first times left for Terry Wanzek.

But this year, there have been two already.

"This is the first time in my farming career we weren't able to harvest all of our crops," Wanzek says. "We still have corn out in the field."

The story is the same for farmers across the region, after a wet fall plagued the Valley.

It was stories like Wanzek's that made people at the Jamestown Regional Medical Center want to step in and help farmers in the community.

"When one of us needs a little pick up, we need to try and be there to help each other," JMRC Chief Operating Officer Ricki Ramlo says.

Agriculture is a major backbone in the region. It's why JMRC piloted with the Village to give free mental health services to producers in need.

"There can be a real sense of isolation," JMRC President and CEO Mike Delfs says. "You're working on your farm. When you are planting and harvesting, those are extremely busy times. It's hard to stay connected."

Delfs says there has been a lot more awareness over the past few years when it comes to mental health issues and farming.

With the recent events, it's even more pressing.

"Stressors, when they get out of hand, can have a really big impact on not just mental health, but physical as well," Stutsman County Extension Agent Christina Rittenbach says.

That's why experts say it's so important to ask for help and talk with others during hard times.

Through JMRC, you can do that in person or online.

As for farmers in the community, Wanzek says he can't express enough how thankful he is.