Farmer Suicide: Identifying the Correlation Between Farmer Mental Health and Weather Conditions.

Document Type


Publication Date



Health Services Administration


South Dakota has a higher suicide rate than the national average. This project will explore the correlation between the state's high suicide rate with farmers facing weather problems. This project will be comparing the average suicide rates in the United States, South Dakota, against the counties of Union, Clay, and Yankton. These counties were chosen because of their proximity to Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. This industry partnership with Avera will help to implement an educational program for farming families. This project will use race, age, and gender to relate suicide in South Dakota to the suicide of farmers. Working with Avera, it is planned to lower the county suicide rate over 5 years. Our research provided will compare precipitation rates with the change of suicide rates to reinforce our hypothesis of weathers effect on South Dakota's high suicide rates. As the precipitation rates from the national weather service showed droughts and record flooding correlates to spikes in suicides. We hypothesize that the weather provides many stressors for farmers and their families with their work life and financial status. Avera will provide educational trainings and raise awareness of the problems of farmer suicide and negative mental health conditions. Avera currently has a crisis hotline to be able to gain access to proper help when needed. With research provided, Avera will expand the services that they are providing.

First Advisor

Carole South-Winter

Research Area

Health Services Administration

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