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FARM SUICIDE PREVENTION CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCES ITS SECOND YEAR

August 27, 2019

When “Save a Shore Farmer” billboards went up on Route 13 last fall, and when televised public service announcements were screened, it was obvious that the suicide prevention campaign had struck a chord.

The Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness & Prevention Program has received a second grant from the Rural Maryland Council that will fund most of an expanded year two of Save a Shore Farmer.

“The CDC released a report that concluded that the occupation subgroup composed of farmers, forestry workers and commercial fishermen ranks #4 on a list of suicide risk by occupation,” said Fund President Kim Klump. “It didn’t take us long to realize how important those industries are to our communities, especially farming, and when a grant opportunity arose we were prepared to take advantage of it to launch this new campaign.”

Save a Shore Farmer’s first year focused on intensive media outreach, to raise awareness of the heightened risk of suicide in farm families and to spread the message that suicide can be prevented. This included billboard placement, over 1,000 television spots, placing printed information at 19 sites in the lower three counties where farmers may gather, and appearances at agricultural related events. The second year will expand upon that work, and include Spanish language versions of the material.

“The first indication that we were reaching people was the spike we observed in visits to www.saveashorefarmer.org, the website created especially for the campaign, after billboards went up and after television spots began,” Klump said. “In year two we hope to engage farm families more directly, teaching recognition of the warning signs of suicide’s threat. We’re open to any suggestions about events relating to farming where we may exhibit, organizations that would invite us to speak, or any way to reach the agricultural population.”

Another result was invitations to present at both the Maryland Suicide Prevention Conference and the Maryland Rural Health Association Conference. “These sessions will be a great opportunity to showcase the innovative and collaborative suicide prevention work from our area to partners across the state,” said Worcester County Health Planner Jackie Ward. The Jesse Klump Memorial Fund and the Health Department are members of the Suicide Prevention Coalition serving the lower Eastern Shore, a consortium of many groups, governmental, private and nonprofit, working to enhance mental health care and reduce suicide rates.

Save a Shore Farmer attracted attention from beyond Maryland’s borders. The University of Minnesota’s Rural Health Center wrote that Save a Shore Farmer is “…one of a handful of exemplar models of rural suicide prevention programs from across the country.”

To learn more about the risk of suicide among farmers, the whys and wherefores, to find resources for anyone about whom you may be concerned, or to explore ways that you or an organization you know can participate in the campaign, visit www.saveashorefarmer.org.

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