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Suicide Rates Still Stubbornly High Among Farmers

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A study in the Journal of Rural Health shows suicide rates among farmers remain high long after the farm crisis of the 1980s. The research is co-written by an assistant professor at Des Moines University, Wendy Riddenberg. She says agriculture workers today have few places to turn for counseling when times are tough.

“After the 80s, there were some mental health services that were created and provided specifically for farmers and agricultural workers. A lot of those are no longer in existence," she says. 

Older farmers often work with extreme pain, which can cause them to end their lives. She grew up on a farm near Belle Plaine and says the overall stress of worrying about keeping their land can also lead to farmer suicides. 

During this hour of River to River, Riddenberg talks with host Ben Kieffer. 

We also hear from Tony Leys, Health Reporter for the Des Moines Register; Katarina Sostaric, Eastern Iowa Reporter for Iowa Public Radio; Interim Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen; and Daniel Holzman, who is organizing the 70th annual International Juggling Association Festival which is coming to Cedar Rapids in July. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Digital Producer
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River