|Roger Wenning and grandson Travis, now gone, spent a day planting.|
Perhaps some things need to be repeated to resonate, and reminding farmers and farming families that emotional well-being matters may be one of those items that ought to be on replay.
Lund’s object example is farmer Roger Wenning of Greensburg, Ind. “He has struggled with depression since the loss of his grandson Travis a few years ago and is now focused on sharing his mental health journey to help others,” Lund writes. Wennign told her that acknowledging a mental health issue can prompt both supportive and unsupportive responses: “I was told by someone that I trusted, ‘You just need to suck it up.’ . . . When I was in the deepest of my depression, I got into some situations that were very questionable as far as danger. I could have been hurt or a lot worse.”
Lund adds, “When friends started to notice that something was off, they volunteered to drive Wenning to appointments and find resources that could help him. That was when he realized he needed to put his mental health first.” Part of his experience was moving past what others might “think about your problem” and prioritizing getting help.
“Wenning explains there is a stigma surrounding mental illness in the farming community, and overcoming that stigma to receive help can prove difficult. Farmers are also typically isolated, which can cause mental health conditions to worsen if left unchecked. . . . During this time, Wenning says he struggled with his faith and found himself angry with God. However, he later found it important to speak with clergy and church members to help with his mental health. He told Lund: “I lost my faith, and working my way back has helped in the healing process. . . . I’m not fully there yet, but I have definitely made strides in the right direction.”