Togetherall brings mental health awareness and support to agriculture

By Sarah Covington, a Farm Bureau member from North Carolina who works as a physician associate in oncology, and also owns Hawfields Cattle Company, specializing in registered Scottish Highland cattle 

Throughout the years I have seen our agriculture community come together during times of need. Wildfires, floods, droughts, tornadoes and hurricanes, for example, all bring the appropriate awareness from news headlines but what about the mental health crisis affecting the people in our industry? The chronic, sometimes daily struggles of farmers and ranchers, whether financial, family, weather, economic, or regulatory in nature all play a role in our daily lives. Often, we are left to absorb the hardships alone.  

That is why I’m thrilled that the American Farm Bureau and the Farm Family Wellness Alliance recently came together to unveil a new resource that can help all of us in agriculture remember we are not alone. It is an electronic platform called Togetherall, a tool developed to bring mental health awareness and support to others. For my fellow millennials, think Twitter meets Reddit; only so much better. For my older and wiser folks, think of a virtual gathering of peers without nametags or introductions. In this column, I’m sharing my “real time” experience using Togetherall. 

Signing up was actually pretty easy. I opened my web browser on my phone and typed in then scrolled to the Togetherall logo. Once I clicked on the logo and was taken to the Togetherall website, I was greeted with a bright yet simple home page where I clicked the join button and filled out my information. A username is autogenerated for me; the name gives me a slight laugh. It is both uplifting and random. “We are off to a good start,” I said to myself.   

Next, I was asked to fill out some basic demographic information, although it’s important to note I was allowed to be as specific or vague as I felt comfortable with. After that section was completed, I clicked the community button and looked over my options. Truthfully, I was impressed!  

When I first joined, I noticed that there are different communities such as health care professionals, parents, first responders, teachers and, of course, agriculture. Within these communities there are separate groups. For example, there was a group dedicated to uplifting and positive posts and others specifically for people to vent.   

I soon found myself scrolling through posts. The postings found on Togetherall are honest, real and heartfelt. Even today as I continue to browse the platform, I empathize with the members voicing struggles and smile as other anonymous users post supportive reflections. Although it has never been a question in my mind that folks in agriculture are there for each other when times are tough, it is wonderful to see the agricultural community support each other in this new way.  
How exciting is it to have a platform where we can talk anonymously with other people in our agricultural family who “get us.” We can go to Togetherall to voice hurt, frustration, or even anger on the hard days and offer fellowship and support on the days we are strong. Having a day that feels like everything is going against you and you just want to quit? Why not take a minute for self-care and scroll Togetherall? Scroll through postings that will make you smile, that will make you laugh. Scroll through postings that make you feel like you are not alone. But most of all, log onto Togetherall to gain hope and support so that the hard days do not stick to us like the beast they can be and rather roll off of us like freshly made hay bales roll out of a bailer onto our fields. 

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