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Stress: Not a sign of weakness

Would you say life today is more stressful than ever before? Unpredictable weather, health and well-being, providing for the family: the struggles are real and have tested human endurance since the beginning of time.

Today, farmers struggle with the issues of climate change that can wipe out their crops in a moment, devastating to their livelihood.

The economy affected everyone when the steel mills closed in the late 1970s, and even laypersons came to understand the concept of ripple effect during what became known as the “economic malaise,” a less disturbing term than “depression,” but those affected can still tell you about that depression. Men lost their sources of income that had allowed them to provide for their families’ needs and the luxuries they had enjoyed. Newspapers buried the news briefs about farmers who took their own lives, sometimes taking their families with them because they couldn’t see any other way, no way out of the black pit of despair and depression.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, if you are on the verge of the precipice, please, don’t. Please understand that you are not alone. You are not weak because you have reached a point where you see no options. You are not weak because you don’t have all of the answers. You aren’t weak because you keep trying, keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s OK if you don’t have all the answers. Does anybody?

What is notOK is keeping everything inside, not talking to the people you trust, your supporters, who happen to be the people you support. You’ve hit some bumps in the road. OK. Some of those bumps look like mountains you can’t go over, around, or through. Don’t give up.You can get past this point, even if it means talking to someone, a professional.

A lot of people think talking to a professional is a sign of weakness. Actually, it takes courage to pick up the phone and ask for help. And everyone needs help sometime.

The Ohio State University Extension Office and the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board joined together to provide an informative document, “Crisis in the Farmland.” It may be directed at farmers, but the information is valuable for others, as well. This four-page publication defines stress, what to do if you are stressed, where you can go for help. (Check out mantherapy.org) Having the backs of your farmer friends means you have someone at your back, too. And helping each other is what humans are about – or supposed to be – because you never know when you will be the one who needs help.

— Know the signs and symptoms of stress.

— Know the warning signs of suicide.

— Know that you are not alone, and you aren’t weak when you reach out for help.

But don’t just know these things. Put them to work in your daily life when you reach out to your friends and colleagues.

If you are interested in reading Crisis in the Farmland, contact the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board at 330-424-0195 or email your request to jthorn@ccmhrsb.org. It will be sent to you.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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