Rural Iowans: Brain Health Support is Available When and Where You Need It

Weather woes. Crop loss. Livestock health. Farm debt. Supply chain issues. Limited access to health care. Several stressors can exacerbate brain health issues for rural Iowans. This is especially true for those in the farming and ranching industry whose financial livelihood is tied to unpredictable factors and ag workers who are experiencing long, strenuous hours and supply chain issues. The good news is, there’s brain health support available no matter where you live.

Farmers, ranchers and ag sector workers, no matter their role in the industry, are faced with challenges that are beyond their control. And because so much time and money are invested in producing a crop, raising livestock, operating and repairing ag-related manufacturing equipment, etc., individuals can often be left with more expenses than revenue. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to their stress, disrupting how those in the ag industry conduct business. In addition to managing their own stress, they also have to think about the health and safety of their families, employees and business partners, as well as disruptions to the food service industry and food supply networks.

Another roadblock to finding support is that many rural communities have limited access to local health care service providers where they can seek help when they need it most. A local brain health provider or hospital may be hundreds of miles away, which may deter individuals struggling to seek help.

With the increase in stressors on the farm, on the ranch and in the factory, and limited access to health care in rural communities, the number of suicide rates among this working group has increased at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control, farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers have higher suicide rates compared to many other occupations. Brain health wellness is vital to saving lives, and help is available for rural Iowans.

There’s help … no matter your location

Rural Iowans are not alone. Through the Iowa MHDS Regions, any Iowan in any community has direct access to immediate help. And help is only one call away.

Starting July 1, mobile crisis services will be available to all Iowans. Through our crisis lines, individuals feeling down or who need someone to talk to about their brain health can connect to one of our experts at any time, day or night. We also have mobile crisis response teams readily available to travel to your home for on-site, face-to-face mental health services.

If you or a family member are feeling down or experiencing thoughts of suicide or depression, don’t hesitate to reach out. Connect with your local Iowa MHDS Region so that we can get you or your loved one on the right track to brain health wellness. And don’t forget there are symptoms that can help you recognize when someone may be struggling, including:

  • An overwhelming sense of fear and worry
  • Lack of interest in normal activities and hobbies
  • Unclear thinking or brain fog
  • Energy loss
  • Changes in weight and other hygiene habits
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased communication or interest in socializing
  • Increased tobacco and alcohol use
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Connect with Iowa MHDS Regions today at, or access immediate crisis services from Your Life Iowa at 855-581-8111 or text 855-895-8398. We’re here when you need us!


Centers for Disease Control, “Suicide Rates by Industry and Occupation — National Violent Death Reporting System, 32 States, 2016,”

Rural Health Information Hub, “Rural Response to Farmer Mental Health and Suicide Prevention,”,Eastern%20by%20Farm%20Aid%20staff.

National Ag Safety Data Base, “Mental Health and the Impact on Wellness for Farm Families,”