Training sessions on preventing suicide in agricultural communities announced statewide

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is reaching out to farmers and agricultural communities with training sessions on how to help those struggling with thoughts of suicide.

The sessions, called safeTALK, will train participants on how to recognize when a person is having thoughts of suicide, how to approach them in coversation and get them the help they need. MDA officials say the training is effective for ages 15 years old and up.

A FOX 9 Investigators piece, "The Last Harvest: The Perfect Storm," looked into how suicide is impacting farmers. While tracking the amount of farmers who take their own lives is difficult, one study from the University of Iowa found from 1992 to 2010, farmers and ranchers had a rate of suicide that was 3.5 times that of the general population.

“Unfortunately, farming communities experience more than their share of suicide,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen in a press release. “We want people to know what they can do to help when they see warning signs.”

There will be six, free safeTALK sessions held throughout Minnesota in the coming months. Participants need to register online as each session is limited to 30 people. Those interested can register here.

The trainings run 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and take place on the following dates:

•    October 10, Thief River Falls (Northland Community and Technical College)
•    October 11, Moorhead, (Minnesota State Community and Technical College - Moorhead)
•    November 20, Faribault (South Central College)
•    November 21, Austin (Riverland Community College)
•    December 3, Marshall (MERIT Center)
•    December 4, Waite Park (Quarry Center)