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Legislation to Study Barriers to Mental Health

Senators Michael Bennet and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming introduced legislation requiring the Government Accountability Office to study the barriers between farmers and ranchers and mental health care. “Our farmers and ranchers face uncertainty from forces beyond their control, and Congress needs to do more to help them access the mental and behavioral health care they need,” Bennet says.

Volatile commodity prices, increased input costs, more frequent wildfires, severe drought, and other extreme weather events significantly affect farmers’ and ranchers’ mental health. Despite the demonstrated need for services, many rural communities face barriers to access those services. The GAO would be required to study the availability and accessibility of substance abuse treatment and mental health care providers trained to serve the needs of farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their families.

The study would also assess the barriers farmers and ranchers face to accessing care and successful programs at the state and local levels.

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