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To an outsider, farming may seem like the ultimate low-stress job: milking cows, feeding chickens, and spending plenty of time outdoors in sunshine and fresh air. But farming has its own unique workplace stressors that can lead to mental health issues.

Unpredictable weather that can wipe out an entire crop, highly volatile commodity prices that squeeze farm revenue while driving up the cost of supplies, and the necessity of working in extreme weather conditions all add up to a difficult environment of workplace stress. Farming is uniquely stressful because the most important factors determining the success or failure of the farm are completely out of the farmer’s control.

Even worse, farmers are notoriously stoic and reluctant to discuss their feelings and emotions, including high stress levels or mental health problems they may be experiencing, making it all the more difficult to provide them with mental health resources.

Utah mental health for farmersUtah Agriculture Mental Health Assistance Program

To assist farmers who are dealing with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, the State of Utah recently announced a mental health initiative aimed at encouraging farmers to visit a Utah mental health professional. The program includes a voucher for up to $2,000 per person to be used for mental health services. The vouchers can be used with any mental health provider in Utah, including Ampelis Health.

The vouchers may be used for a variety of mental health issues, such as Anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Bipolar, Depression, Grief, Insomnia, Mood Swings, Panic Attacks, PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), Relationship Problems, Stress, Substance Misuse/Abuse, Trauma, among other issues.

Instructions for obtaining and using the mental health voucher are available on the Utah State University Ag Wellness website:  https://extension.usu.edu/agwellness/mental-health-assistance.

Farmers, agricultural workers, and their families can also contact Ampelis Health directly for information on using a voucher for mental health care by calling 435-776-5909.

Workplace Stress and Mental Health

Utah’s mental health assistance program for agricultural workers is an important step toward helping Utah farmers struggling with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health issues stemming from workplace stress to receive the services they need.

But at a higher level, the mental health voucher program underscores the need for greater awareness and resources dedicated to workplace mental health issues, no matter the industry.

Workplace stress and its impact on employees’ mental health is a serious concern.

  • 76% of US workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition  Source
  • 84% of workers reported at least one workplace factor that had a negative impact on their mental health Source
  • 50% of employees say that work stress is impacting their personal lives and their relationships with their family members and friends, as well as their relationships with themselves  Source

Our collective poor mental health is having a significant impact on employee performance, and along with it, workplace productivity and profitability. Employee absenteeism, workplace productivity, turnover rates, and even the company’s net promoter score (a measurement of how satisfied customers are with a company’s products and services) have all been linked to workplace mental health.

Mental illness drives 200 million lost workdays each year at a cost of $17 to $44 billion to employers annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  Source

How Does Work Harm Our Mental Health?

Our workplaces can harm our mental health if they are full of stressors. The less control we have over the stressors in our environment, the more likely we are to accumulate stress and experience negative mental health from our workplace environment.

Workplace stressors are grouped into two categories: physical stressors and psychosocial stressors. Physical stressors include noise, poor lighting, poor office or work layout, and ergonomic factors, such as confined spaces or bad working posture. Physical stressors are commonly found in manufacturing environments, construction, warehouse, or high-risk workplaces such as mining and fishing.

Psychosocial stressors are the stereotypical stress factors that are the bane of the 9-5 office work environment. These stressors include demanding bosses, impractical deadlines, inflexible working hours, poor job control, bullying, harassment, and job insecurity.  Source

While toxic workplaces make great fodder for workplace comedies, such as Office Space or The Office, they are not so great for workers’ mental health. The arbitrary nature and injustice of these workplace stressors make them especially galling to deal with and make them far more difficult to “leave behind at the office” than physical stressors.

Our minds continue to dwell on negative conversations, perceived slights, and office politics long after we have left work for the day, causing our relationships with family and friends to suffer, and taking a toll on our personal mental health.

How to Cope with Workplace Mental Health Issues

No matter your workplace environment, there is likely to be some degree of stress. If not dealt with appropriately, this stress can lead to serious physical and mental health issues.

Two mental health interventions have proven to be particularly effective at helping workers combat workplace-related stress, depression, and anxiety: TMS and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an interventional psychiatric treatment that treats the brain directly through electromagnetic stimuli. It is FDA-approved in the U.S. for treatment of depression, major depressive disorder, anxious depression, and OCD.

TMS is a daily treatment administered over several weeks. It is especially useful for treating workplace-related stress and depression because the half-hour appointments can easily be scheduled to fit around a work schedule. Even better, the appointments themselves can provide a much-needed break from the office! People undergoing TMS can return to the office immediately after treatment with no restrictions on driving or performing other complex tasks.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy combines the depression relief of ketamine with the healing power of therapy to help patients overcome depression, trauma, stress, anxiety, and other serious mental health issues. Patients receive a ketamine infusion which helps to quickly alleviate intense symptoms of depression and anxiety and helps them open up to explore their emotions, behaviors, and feelings as directed by a qualified therapist.

Unlike TMS, patients should not return to the office immediately after ketamine treatment. However, the treatment time required is much shorter – usually six sessions total.

Mental Health Treatment Locations in Utah

Ampelis Health offers Utah patients two convenient locations for mental health treatment. Our Highland, Utah clinic serves patients in Utah County and the south end of Salt Lake County. Our South Ogden clinic (located in Mindful Medical) serves patients in northern Utah. Both TMS and ketamine treatments are available to patients looking for relief from depression, stress, anxiety, OCD, PTSD or other mental health issues. Whether your challenges are caused by workplace-related stress or another root cause, we welcome you to our clinic.

Call Ampelis Health today at 435-776-5909 to schedule an appointment.

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