Like some auctions, a heavy feeling hung in the air. While people searched for deals and community members and neighbors visited, it was unmistakable that the gathering was predicated on pain of others.
Change is at the root of every auction. Whether it was a retirement, a bankruptcy or a death, farm sales can be associated with broken dreams and the march of time. Today's auction fit the bill. A conversation between neighbors revealed that the owner had committed suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in 2013. The CDC also noted that males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 77.9 recent of all suicides. Suicide can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities.
The reasons behind suicide aren't always clear but depression is often at the forefront. Downward economic pressure in the farm economy paired with tight margins in farming can lead to depression for farmers.
To help farmers deal with depression and stress Iowans can call the ISU Extension and Outreach Iowa Concern Hotline, (800)-447-1985. The Iowa Concern website at www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/ has a live chat feature as an additional way to talk with stress counselors. Agencies and professionals serving individuals and families can contact local ISU Extension and Outreach offices about Iowa Concern hotline number business cards available for distribution.
As the last items were sold and the auctioneer's voice fell silent the parade of trucks dispersed across the frozen countryside. As one farmer said; auctions are a sweet and sour time where farmers put portions of their life's work up to the highest bidder.