Commentary: Mental health an under-covered issue in the 2020 elections – Mason City Globe Gazette

Posted: January 26, 2020 at 12:43 pm

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

But when we look at mental health issues among farmers, we see something quite different. Suicides among farmers are rising dramatically and heart-stoppingly. When I hear from Iowans in farming communities about the neighbors, friends, and family they have lost in this epidemic, I see the heavy hand our climate crisis has in rural Americas mental health crisis.

In a farm economy and environment that is becoming nearly impossible to succeed, farmers tell me how climate change is disrupting their century-old rhythm of life. Across towns in Iowa, I hear from farmers how theyve had to plant late this spring because of flooding and wet soils, pushing the harvest later than ever before.

The truth is that farmers are not alone in feeling the mental and emotional impacts of climate change. I learned from Peggy Huppert of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, that climate change is a key driver of depression and anxiety for everyone, but particularly for young people. By waiting to address climate collapse, we place an unfair emotional burden on the youngest among us.

I feel fear about the future of our planet, and I worry that we are approaching a dangerous tipping point. But when I hear from Iowans about the work they are doing to support one another through hard times, and when I see the potential to transition to a strong, green economy, I am emboldened to keep working on this. When we stabilize the climate, we will improve so many other parts of our lives, and the lives of everyone in our country. We need a leader who can put the climate first, to protect our planet, our jobs, and our well-being.

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Commentary: Mental health an under-covered issue in the 2020 elections - Mason City Globe Gazette

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