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Mental and behavioral health

Supporting increased federal funding for Farm and Ranch Worker Stress Assistance Network

APA advocates for funds to address mental health for agricultural producers and their families.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2022, April 21). Supporting increased federal funding for Farm and Ranch Worker Stress Assistance Network. https://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/funding-farm-ranch-stress-assistance

Farmer driving a tractor

On April 19, APA helped drive signatures for a coalition letter urging members of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Agriculture to fully fund the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) (PDF, 190KB) at $10 million for Fiscal Year 2023. FRSAN is a program that aims to create and fund service networks to connect those working in agriculture-related occupations and their families to stress assistance programs.

The coalition letter thanked congressional members for including FRSAN funding in recent appropriations packages and stressed that there is a strong need for fully funding the program. Farm and ranch workers have reported experiencing more stress and other mental health challenges in the past year (PDF, 994KB). Additionally, there are still significant barriers to accessing care, such as stigmas around mental health and shortages of care providers in many rural areas, which FRSAN aims to address by connecting more people in rural communities to mental health services.

Farm and ranch workers face unique stressors, such as the instability of the farming economy and the financial risks involved in agriculture, as well as increasing weather unpredictability stemming from climate change. In addition, since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, farmers and the rural communities they live in have experienced worsening of financial instability linked to disruption of supply chains, adding to the unpredictability and financial pressure already associated with this profession.  

To address the stress and mental health concerns of farm and agricultural producers and other Americans who live in rural areas, APA Services continues to advocate for expanding telehealth services and broadband, which increase access to mental health care in places with shortages of care providers or limited internet access. In April 2021, APA Services responded to a Request for Information from the National Institute of Mental Health’s Office of Rural Mental Health (PDF, 330KB) by offering recommendations to support more research on diverse rural populations and to further examine integrated care and telehealth delivery models in rural areas.

For more information, contact Katherine McGuire.