Over the last few years there's been more of an emphasis put on the importance of monitoring your mental health and learning how to deal with and limit stress.

Life on the farm or ranch can be highly stressful Lesley Kelly understands it all to well as a farmer and a strong advocate for mental health and agriculture.

She says we think of a stressful harvest, or the stress of moving animals, etc, but sometimes stress can be more than a season.

"You know, there's the discussions of the transition of the farm, weather, economics, family dynamics, even proposed different government policies that we're unsure about. So every day can be a challenge, but from what I know is through doing a few things every day, can have really big impacts on how you can go through that stress."

It's important to recognize what you are going through and react as stress can wear you down mentally and physically.

She says it's important to find the tools to deal with it, a key component is also having open communication and be aware of what you or others are going through.

"Learning how to ask questions with empathy, how to listen to each other, and how to talk about stress on the farm can be such a key factor. You know, for us we use the tailgate check in. We ask each other what our stress number is from 1 to 10? That opens a great dialogue of support,  just knowing where you are on that stress level."

Kelly points out that we recognize when crops or animals are under stress and what tools are needed, but we also need to recognize when the stress we're under is getting to be too much.

Another tool her family uses and finds helpful is the STORM analagy.

- Identify your Stress
- Take action when it gets to be too much
- have Open communication with others
- look at your Relationships and repair any impact that may have occured 
- and focus on stress Management and finding tips and tools that help you work through it.

Overall she says its important to just reach out and talk with someone if your feeling overwhelmed whether its your partner, a friend, co-worker or through the numerous mental health resources that are now available.

The Do More Agriculture Foundation has a list of support networks and resources available no matter where you live across the country - that link can be found here.

Kelly was a guest speaker during the Innovation Federal Credit Union and Stark and Marsh Ag Outlook 2024 event last week.

To listen to Glenda-Lee's conversation with Lesley Kelly click on the link below.