Menn sees the crippling impact of depression several times a week at the clinic. The first thing he does is make sure visitors are getting counseling “and then we utilize medication like SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) . . . which makes it harder for the patient to get to the darkest point of depression,” he said.
When he heard about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released in 2016, which showed farmers take their lives more often than people in any other occupation in this country, including the military, he was not surprised. “There is particularly a lot of depression in rural society. It happens for a lot of different reasons. A lot of it is our roller-coaster economics. People outside of farming, I think, understand that farming is hard work. What they don’t understand is the depth of the lows that can hit you at any one time, with just one small problem that can lead to hundreds of little problems.
“I just had the discussion today with my son-in-law,” he explained. “We sold feeder steers. We missed by about 50 pounds what we were hoping to get. Well, that was about another $15,000 worth of income we’re not going to have. That’s a big deal, because the margins are so tough.”