Jamestown Medical Center launches program to help Farmers struggling with mental health issues

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JAMESTOWN, N.D. - The USDA this week reported that 49 percent of corn, and 67 percent of sunflowers have been harvested in North Dakota.

Many of those growers are feeling the weight of the stress.

The Jamestown Regional Medical Center launched a pilot program to help counsel farmers struggling with their mental health.

Even the strongest farmers and ranchers have their limits.

"You don't want to talk about it, we all know it’s happening but there's a breaking point for everybody," said Nick Bruns, who grew up on his families farm.

Driving through rural North Dakota, many fields remain unharvested and moist.

"We didn't know how big the impact was until we had a roomful of people with the same thoughts. Everyone knew it was a tough producing year. Everyone knew agriculture had taken a hard hit, but we didn't know the impact until we have a room full of people expressing that same amount of stress," said Jamestown Regional Medical Center President & CEO Mike Delfs.

The stress of severe flooding and crop loss adds to the already demanding occupation.

"Not being able to get the crop in is a heavy burden because they know that's their livelihood and responsibility," said Bruns.

Jamestown Regional Medical Center collaborated with other resources to help those struggling mentally from the loss.

"Our best offering to them, is to take the services to where they're at and that was web-based counseling," said Ricki Ramlo, Jamestown Regional Medical Center chief operating officer.

The three free sessions are aimed at working through agricultural challenges.

"Getting a farmer to recognize that you're not alone in this. Your neighbors, although they're not talking to you about their troubles and trials, but they are the same as yours and they're all going through it," says Bruns.

Along with breaking the stigmas affiliated with mental health.

"I’d like to see that applied to the Agriculture industry, where if someone is having a tough year or a tough event, that they feel comfortable about coming in and talking," said Delfs.

The program brings comfort to those who feel the stress is too much to bear.

"I think we all believe that its helping engage in the conversation of supporting each other and building each other up," said Ramlo.

Lending a helping hand to those who dedicate their lives to putting food on our tables, and preserve the environment.

Jamestown Regional Medical Center has covered all expenses for the pilot program.

For access to the counseling services you can call 1-800-627-8220.

Anyone outside of the nine counties can also call the number, they will then refer you to help in your area.