Residents urged to seek mental health assistance during animal health emergency

The Dubois County Health Department highlights the emotional impact of the current avian flu situation occurring in the county.

On February 9, highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was detected in poultry at a commercial turkey farm in Dubois County. As a result, all potentially infected birds were depopulated. J

The Dubois County Health Department urges community members affected by this animal health emergency to be aware of the possible impact on their mental health and to seek help if needed.

“We recognize that this incident is increasing the stress on farmers and other members of our community. The Department of Health encourages anyone in difficulty to seek help.”

In general, residents of rural communities have higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide. However, farmers are facing additional mental health challenges due to stressors largely beyond their control, including severe weather, pests, falling commodity prices, rising farm debt, and market disruption due to global COVID-19 pandemic. Animal health emergencies such as the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza can further increase stress in farming communities.

If you notice changes in your emotions, attitudes, or cognitive abilities, or if you notice that it has become more difficult for you to care for yourself, your family, or your pets, consider seeking immediate help. friend, member of the clergy or doctor. . If the situation is life-threatening, get immediate emergency help by dialing 9-1-1.

If you are showing symptoms of depression, having suicidal thoughts, or just need someone to talk to, please contact one of the following organizations:

  • Be well Indiana: Do you feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or alone? Call this free, confidential resource available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone in the state of Indiana.
    • Dial 2-1-1 and enter your postal code.
    • Follow the prompts and select number 3 for the Be Well Crisis Helpline.
  • Agricultural aid: This organization connects farmers with helpful services, resources and opportunities specific to their individual needs. Call the Farmer Hotline for immediate assistance Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
    • Call 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243).
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Provides 24/7, free and confidential support to people in distress, as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
    • Dial 9-8-8 or dial 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

The risk of transmission of H5N1 avian influenza from birds to humans is expected to be low. However, other strains of bird flu have caused mild to severe illness in people. The Dubois County Health Department is working with the Indiana Department of Health and the affected grower to monitor the health of those who have been exposed to infected birds. If you think you are sick due to an infection with the bird flu virus, please contact your health care provider.

Boyd S. Abbott