Promoting farm health and vitality through mental health training (2019)

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For the past five years, bad weather, volatile markets, declining commodity prices, tariffs and regulations have contributed pressure on farming enterprises and on the health and vitality of farmers, ranchers and farm families. Those pressures are also felt by professionals who provide education and services for the farming population. In Delaware, building a network for farmers, ranchers, their families and those that serve them, is critical. These networks can address stress, financial and overall wellness and mental health issues to protect the vitality of farming operations and Delaware’s economy.


During 2019, a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training was offered once in each county in Delaware. This full-day training provides information about a variety of mental health diagnoses including how they present and strategies to support and help affected individuals. Training sessions were held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Dover, Lewes and Newark, Delaware and morning snack and lunch were strategically provided to help retain attendees throughout the day. The target audience included professionals working with farm audiences or their families. Marketing was conducted through farm organizations and health care service providers.



Seventy-one individuals participated in the hands-on workshops. To determine if longer-term behavior change or an impact on the professional’s organization had occurred, a post-program evaluation was conducted via an online Qualtrics survey, 6 months after the training. Eighteen respondents provided feedback (ten who work in education, three who work in mental health and five who work supporting farmers):

As a result of MHFA training, how confident are you now that you can ... (% Moderately to Very Confident.)

  • Identify stress symptoms in your clientele?  94%

  • Talk with clientele about their mental well-being?  67%

  • Assist clients who are facing challenges that impact their mental health?  72%

  • Provide assistance to someone who says they are considering suicide?  72%

  • Contact the correct community assistance if someone says they are considering suicide?  89%


As a result of MHFA training, how likely are you to ... (% Moderately to Very Likely.)

  • Talk with distressed clients about their mental well-being?  61%

  • Assist clients who are facing challenges that impact their mental health?  67%

  • Share what you learned during the Mental Health First Aid training with others in your organization?  78%


  • Taken leadership roles related to mental health within your organization?  55%



This program was underwritten by the Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative and offered as part of a partnership between the Mental Health Association in Delaware (provided certified trainers), Beebe Health and the Delaware Farm Bureau.