Researchers explore causes of suicides among Georgia farmers
ATLANTA (AP) — Scientists are learning more about suicides among Georgia farmers — and they say the aftermath of Hurricane Michael could bring more risks to rural areas.
New research shows that relationship issues, health-related problems and financial hardship are among the most common factors.
A University of Georgia researcher believes Hurricane Michael could pose an additional threat to Georgia’s farming community.
Anna Scheyett, Dean of the University of Georgia School of Social Work, says farmers are in need of support.
“I think it’s an important and very resilient, but also a vulnerable population,” Scheyet said. “And one that we need to be providing support to.”
Scheyett began by examining 106 cases of suicide among farmers and agriculture workers, which were recorded in the Georgia Violent Death Reporting System from 2008 to 2015, WABE Radio reported .
Scheyett has also requested additional data from this year, which will help her to study the impact of the hurricane on the farming community.
There’s a “perfect storm” of challenges for farmers now, including the economic difficulty in the wake of the hurricane, she said.
“We’re talking about a generation where there’s going to be huge financial impact . And then the uncertainty around policy and tariffs,” she said. “It’s an incredibly stressful time for farmers and agriculture workers now.”
Researchers hope that more rural health care providers can receive additional training in self-harm risk detection.
Information from: WABE-FM, http://www.wabe.org/