BANK IOWA MENTAL HEALTH OUTLOOK
If you are asking yourself why a bank is asking questions about mental health, you are not alone. In fact, when we sent this survey to our clients and community members throughout the state of Iowa, we received a lot of feedback about our questions.
The sad truth is that is according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural manager occupations have one of the highest suicide rates in the United States. On numerous occasions, Bank Iowa team members have had face-to-face conversations with farmers struggling with their mental health. Team members have shared that their clients have been depressed, crying and feeling hopeless about their situation. Admittedly, our team members have felt underprepared for these difficult conversations and helpless in their ability to point their neighbors in the right the direction to get the help they so desperately need.
To start addressing the problem, Bank Iowa has partnered with Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative (HSI) and their “Make It OK’ program to end the stigma of talking about mental health. Our goal with these questions and our community's answers are to provide a better understanding of the mental health problem for the HSI and to inform their “Make It OK” program efforts. At the same time, we hope this partnership helps us better prepare our team members for those difficult conversations. We also hope that the work from HSI helps other organizations with similar challenges.
While we received a lot of critiques about the questions we were asking, we received numerous uplifting comments from community members who were grateful we were addressing the issue and asking about mental health. As the results show, the stigma of mental health is real and the challenges facing our ag community continue to persist.
While there were 3,011 respondents to the survey, these results focus on the agricultural industry.
Have you or a loved one ever struggled with mental illness?
When asked to consider having a mental illness, farmers responded with the following:
Farmers agreed or disagreed with the following statements:
Download the results of this year's survey here.