State Ag Department helps cultivate mental health care

·3 min read

May 8—ATLANTA — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health, and Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities are working together to promote resources for mental health and self-care.

"Cultivating care in your daily life and prioritizing mental health are vital to not only the success of Georgia's agriculture community, but our state as a whole," Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said. "I'm proud that the Georgia Department of Agriculture is partnering with DPH and DBHDD to educate and spread awareness of the resources available to farmers and producers when it comes to ag stress and mental health.

"For the first time, links to these resources will be prominently displayed on the GDA website and our team will be sharing recipes and wellness resources throughout Mental Health Awareness Month to nurture our communities across the state."

Links to these resources can be found at the GDA website: The GDA promotes awareness of the ABCs of Stress and Mental Health: Awareness, Balance, and Connections. Being aware of signs and symptoms, cultivating balance in your daily life, and connecting to those in your family and community are vitally important.

Finding entertaining ways to get out to support family connections like finding a local agritourism site ( or visiting your local State Park ( are valuable ways to connect with those you love.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Michael, GDA began developing mental health resources to share with Georgia's agricultural community and has continued to do so with a grant received from USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture to promote farmer stress and outreach in the state. The Farmer Ranch Stress Assistance Network, State Departments of Agriculture project is focusing on a "Georgia Healthy Farmer Mindset" that is taking a holistic approach to addressing stress and mental health challenges to the farming community.

This is a collaborative initiative with project partners including GDA, The University of Georgia, AgriSafe, McClendon Law and Consulting, the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia PTA, Mercer Rural Health Innovation Center, HERO Agriculture in Calhoun, and STAG Vets in Milledgeville. The Georgia Agricultural Wellness Alliance has been established to support these goals (

"Understanding symptoms of stress and mental health and the impacts of sleep and nutrition on your overall well-being is important," Kevin Tanner, commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, said. "Georgia is making great strides in making mental and behavioral health services accessible to those who need them.

"If you are in need of help, there is hope. Caring and compassionate support is just a phone call away. Find anonymous support from Georgia-based counselors by dialing 988 or calling or texting the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at (800) 715-4225."

Additional agriculture mental health resources can be found at and at For immediate assistance, call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line toll-free at 1-800-715-4225 (language assistance available) or visit

People can dial 988 or go to the website at if they are in distress, feel like there may be a risk of suicide, or are having a crisis related to mental health, substance use, or a developmental disability. For veterans and veteran farmers, the Department of Veterans Affairs established 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411) in 2020 to help veterans, their family members, caregivers, and survivors understand and access the broad spectrum of VA benefits and services.