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Dr Sarah Taber @SarahTaber_bww
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
But, when women in agriculture actually talk about ag communities' mental health like a real personal & interpersonal thing that we have to work on in our own lives-- NOT just as a way to claim more federal funding?
All the sudden overworked, underpaid farmers somehow have a lot of time on their hands.

They find the time to creep these women's mentions.

They find the time to make & admin multiple parody accounts per month.

They find the time to send rape threats.
I think it's really important to remember difference btwn mental health problems caused by biology, & those caused by destroying relationships thru poor behavior & expectations, toxic beliefs abt what makes you a worthwhile person, & getting paralyzed by machismo.
One needs medical treatment.

The other needs a willingness to look at your own life, the behaviors you've engaged in, & the behaviors you've encouraged in other people.

That's what therapists do. They teach people how to do that stuff.
What do folks in ag think mental health funding pays for? It goes to teaching skills on reevaluating personal behavior, relationships, & community expectations.

And some amount of further treatment, like medication. But mostly it's retraining how we think.
Imagine demanding money for this training, meanwhile having no plans to actually use it lmao

There's also this idea that farm mental health problems are caused by financial problems. Yes, that's definitely a stressor.

But blaming it ALL on that is kind of a cop-out.
It ain't the '50s glory days anymore. Other than a very thin layer of the wealthy at the top of both urban & rural communities-

*everyone* is overworked & underpaid.

Sorry to be politically incorrect. But being stressed out, broke, & in bad health ain't a special farmer thing.
We make a big deal of how stressful it is to lose a farm bc of financial issues.

Well, no shit. Loss sucks. It does.

And ALL business owners can have that problem. Think it's hard to let cows go? Imagine if it's humans you've employed for decades. Who counted on you.
Meanwhile the #1 cause of bankruptcy is medical.

We've got thousands & thousands of people every year losing their their families' financial futures, homes, & their lives. But the farm lobby's out here carrying on as if losing a farm is The Worst Possible Thing That Can Happen.
They're *not* talking about how ag communities often look down on non-farmers. There's an attitude that they … don't really count as people. How a lot of the trauma of losing a farm is that in that community, you've ceased to be a real person.

We SHOULD be talking about THAT.
Another big financial problem for farms is health insurance. Often farms start spiraling bc somebody had to take a full-time job to get health insurance. Then they can't put as much work into the farm & it starts to go downhill. It's a decent contributor to farm failure.
Rural areas & farm communities had a chance to help build a healthcare system that stopped medical bankruptcies.

They also had a chance to vote for health insurance coverage that wasn't tied to full-time employment & could give a path to mental health care.

And they voted no.
Now just a few yrs later, they're demanding special carve-outs just for farmers.

Farm areas told the rest of the country to suck eggs for healthcare, then lobbied themselves special healthcare money.

What a transparent, juvenile power play.
What's really going on with farmer suicides? For a few years now, suicide rates have been highest among older white men.

And farming is one of the jobs with the highest concentration of older white men.
(There's also a lot of talk about "it's probably even higher than it looks bc most farmer suicides are probably misrecorded as accidents."

Yeah. A lot of suicides, period, are misrecorded as accidents. That's not a special farm thing either.)
The thing is, a lot of old white man mental health problems come from

"I'm used to being in charge & don't have coping skills for NOT being in charge, so I'm self-destructing."

What we need to do here is confront that. Build the coping skills. Not run power plays to avoid them.
But in ag, it's not politically correct to talk abt race, machismo, or how they have consequences. So we're demanding $ for mental health problems largely built by patriarchy & white supremacy

but also sending rape threats to women who talk about mental health. Cool.
The flip side of ag's problems being old white man problems:

Can I just say something? The young farmers we have today are THE BOMB and honestly probably the best thing to happen to US agriculture in 200 years.
And I see the old guard hating on them bc a lot of young farmers have communications & relational skills the old folks don't, & don't understand.

So they have to denigrate those skills to feel ok about themselves.
(The old guard still expects the young people to save the farm w those skills after the old folks ran it into the ground for 20+ yrs though 🙄)
I think this generational transition's going to do great things for agriculture. The biggest threat is young farmers picking up the attitudes & behaviors of the old guard bc they need to make nice to stay in the business for now, & getting stuck that way.

Stay strong folks 💪
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