Ag News

988 is the 911 for mental health emergencies

by Kevin Tanner

Posted on Feb 16, 2024 at 13:17 PM

NOTE: This is an editorial piece written by Commissioner Kevin Tanner, Ga. Dept. of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities

Farming can be the greatest job in the world. But the reality is it’s also an incredibly stressful and isolating job.

I know this firsthand.

I’m from Dawson County and grew up on land that’s been in my family since 1850.

I’ve come to realize farming is a 24-hour job. You’re NEVER off the clock.

There are many factors outside our control – natural disasters, extreme weather events, financial pressures due to fluctuating commodity prices, and labor shortages, just to name a few.

As a farmer, we can do everything right and still fail.

I also know farmers are proud people who bottle up their emotions. They’re expected to be tough, or at least they think that’s what is expected of them.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to not be okay. And it’s more than okay to reach out for help.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis or just need someone to talk to, call or text 9-8-8, the crisis lifeline.

When you dial or text 9-8-8, you’ll find caring, compassionate and certified counselors on the other end of the line. All of these calls are confidential.

Think of 9-8-8 as the 9-1-1 for mental health emergencies.

Just talking about mental health with your fellow farmers will help us reduce the stigma associated with it.

Visit for more resources to deal with a crisis related to mental health, substance use or a developmental disability.

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