November 9, 2023 - Spring Green, WI - Wisconsin farmers are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide. Yet, farmer suicide is preventable. Mental Health First Aid teaches how to recognize warning signs of farmer suicide and how to keep them safe.
A dozen local community members gathered at Savanna Institute's serene Elderflower Retreat to become certifed as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) responders. Farmer Angel Network, in partnership with Sauk Prairie Healthcare Foundation, McFarlanes' Retail Center, Insight FS, and Savanna Institute, collaborated to make this happen.
Led by trainer Dan Muxfeld, the session focused on helping participants recognize signs of suicide and how to offer support. They discussed the challenges people face, especially in farming, but the lessons were for everyone. They learned to notice changes in a farmer’s appearance, behavior, thoughts, and feelings that can signal a change in a farmer’s mental health. Mr. Muxfeld also taught how to successfully
intervene and assist farmers through recovery.
Just like first aid for a scrape or bruise, MHFA is about helping someone with their mental health until they can get the right help. The key is to "identify, understand, respond" and do what you do best to support your family, friends, and neighbors.
Together, this event showed how communities can come together to look out for each other's well-being.