Suicides on the farm are a serious issue, so a free one-hour course, developed by Western Kentucky University, designed to aid healthcare professionals in acknowledging and lessening farmer suicides, is now available.

“Farmers face a number of risks in their daily jobs, including machinery accidents, chemical exposure, unruly livestock, grain bin entrapment, and severe weather,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. “But many don’t consider the incredible pressure on their mental well-being. Courses, like the one developed by Western Kentucky University, can aid our health professionals by helping identify early warning signs of mental stress, helping save lives in the process, and creating a stronger agriculture community.”

The course guides healthcare professionals on how to prevent farmer suicide through cultural respect, understanding, sensitivity, and humility, for which they use the acronym CRUSH. The course will delve into the culture of farming and how knowledge of the agricultural sector can help healthcare workers respond to a farmer in crisis.

There are nearly 76,000 farm families in Kentucky providing food for the state and the country. For many farmers, farming is more than just a job, it is a way of life. While there are many joys associated with farming, there is also a lot of stress. This stress has led to high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among the farming community.

The new offering falls in line with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s campaign, “Raising Hope — Supporting Healthy Lives on Kentucky Farms.” The campaign focuses on improving the mental and physical health of agricultural producers and is a partnership with state universities and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The campaign is supported by appropriations from the Kentucky General Assembly.

The Continuing Education qualifying program is designed for all healthcare professionals and is free and available on CE Central at

Kentucky Today is the digital newspaper for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the state’s largest religious organization.

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