Text equivalent of “Foreign Animal Diseases and Farmer Mental Health”

Foreign Animal Diseases

A foreign animal disease (FAD) is an animal disease not currently in the U.S., and an outbreak could severely impact animal health and the U.S. economy. In the swine industry, FADs of greatest concern include African swine fever (ASF), classical swine fever (CSF), and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). FAD preparedness and response activities help to ensure we are ready to both prevent and respond to potential FAD introductions. However, the threat of severe animal illness, high mortality, production losses, and potential financial impact can be taxing on our mental health. While we are taking care of our herds, we must take care of ourselves.

Impact on Farmers

Caring for animals and being faced with a depopulation situation can create stress for producers and workers. Stress happens to all of us, and it is normal to feel overwhelmed, especially during tough times. If
you feel anxious or depressed, you are not alone. Beyond your friends and family, there are many resources to help.

Know the Signs of Stress and Depression

  • Persistent worry and fear.
  • Apprehension and uneasiness.
  • Avoiding others.
  • Feeling sad.
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in activities.
  • Significant weight change or changes in appetite.
  • Problems sleeping.
  • Slow or fidgety body movements.
  • Low energy/fatigue.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Unexplained changes in physical appearance or behavior.
  • Headaches.
  • Feelings of isolation.
  • Anger.
  • Feeling numb.

Know When to Seek Help

If you or someone you know shows signs of stress over the past 2 weeks, seek help from a mental health professional or one of the resources at the bottom of this article. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 9-8-8 right away if you or someone you know threatens to hurt or kill themself or someone else, or talks or writes about death, dying, or suicide.

Take Care of Yourself & Your Workers

Caring for your physical health can help lower your stress level.

  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.
  • Avoid tobacco or illegal drugs.
  • Get enough sleep and rest.
  • Get physical exercise.

Use Simple Techniques for Relaxation

  • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
  • Engage in your favorite hobbies.
  • Pace yourself between stressful activities.
  • Find a work/life balance and do something you.
  • enjoy between stressful tasks.
  • Talk about your feelings to loved ones and friends.

Check in often to make sure everyone is doing well.

The Animal Depopulation Resiliency Check-in Tool can be a helpful resource to guide conversations.
Use your smart phone to scan the QR code [photo of QR code]. Una versión en español también está disponible on el sitio web.

QPR for Farmers & Farm Families

The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training teaches laypeople and professionals to recognize and respond to mental health crises. QPR for Farmers and Farm Families is specially tailored to the agricultural
community. QPR trainings are available free to Nebraskans through the AgriSafe Network and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Sign up for free virtual QPR training.


Stress and Wellness

  • Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
  • Substance Abuse & Mental Health National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-4357 or text 1-800-487-4889


  • National Suicide and Crisis Hotline: Call or Text 9-8-8
  • Veteran’s Crisis Line: Call 988, Press 1 or text to 838255
  • The AgriStress Helpline (available in CO, CT, MO, MT, OR, PA, TX, VA, WA, and WY): Call or text 833-897-2474

Funding provided to Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health by NIOSH AFF Grant U54OH010162.

[Logo: AgHealth Central States, Center for Agricultural Safety and Health. Logo: AgriSafe Network, Protecting the people who feed the world.]