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April 16, 2021

4/2/2021 9:09:00 AM
My explanation behind my vaccination
Last Thursday brought up a lot for me. Last year around this time, there was little known as to what our world would be with the pandemic. How long would this last? How would this affect my loved ones? When could we get back to "normal?"
The pandemic has affected so many lives in so many ways. From families losing loved ones to the pandemic (from the virus directly, or from mental stress due to isolation or underlying issues that worsened due to isolation), to children not being able to see their friends at school, to say this last year has been heartbreaking is an understatement.
Getting the phone call last week, that I was next in line to receive my vaccination was a relief. I took no chance in scheduling that appointment. I qualified because of the food supply chain qualification, due to our family farm. This makes me think of all the mad respect I give to our farmers that put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, and the hard work ethic instilled in the people that work many hours cultivating the land.
While farmers are some of the most resilient people I know, I also really worry about their mental health the most, not to take away from anyone struggling from mental health issues. Statistics show that farmers are more likely to die by suicide than in many other occupations. Suicide rates have increased by 40% in the last two decades. Multiple studies show that farmer suicide rates range from two to five times higher than the national average in recent years.
Reasons behind this statistic will expand beyond the character limit for this editorial, as there are many. The pandemic has been hard for everyone, in one way or another. Even before the world became aware of COVID-19 or social distancing, farmers mental health has been a significant issue.
Mental health and suicide are critical issues facing families, especially farming families, and the saying "sealed lips sink ships," applies perfectly. Too many people suffer in silence, and by the time people learn about a loved one struggling, help comes too late.
Our family learned this the hard way, and my heart breaks for any family enduring this type of pain.
My reason for the vaccination is support to farmers, the cultivators of our community, and for families that have sacrificed so much-physically, emotionally and mentally. My reason is for the hope that we uplift each other through our pain and come together. You are not alone, and my vaccination is for you to remind you of that.

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