KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture aimed at destigmatizing mental health and supporting the agriculture community on Friday.
“Kansas farmers and ranchers feed the world – they’re critical to society, and my administration will continue to use every resource available to support them," Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said in a press release. "I want to thank the USDA and the Kansas Department of Agriculture for prioritizing the mental health of Kansas’ agriculture community.”
The Kansas Department of Agriculture will use the funding to raise awareness for the KansasAgStress.org website, to develop reusable media and to work toward lowering suicide rates among the Kansas agriculture workforce.
“Mental health is health, and we must continue to fight the stigma through accessible resources like the Kansas Ag Stress network — especially as suicide rates are climbing in rural areas,” U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) said.
Kansas suicide rates have increased by nearly 45% over the past two decades, according to a September 2021 Kansas Health Institute analysis. Suicide rates in frontier and rural counties increased at a higher rate than more populated areas.
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced it is investing nearly $25 million total into 50 grants supporting state Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network projects across the country.