Preventing Suicide in Rural Communities


ST. PAUL — Farmers and others who work in agriculture are used to helping neighbors, clients, family and friends do chores or make repairs, but they may not know how to help someone having thoughts of suicide. A free, half-day safeTALK training sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will be offered in six locations around the state this fall to help people build the skills they need to offer that help.

The safeTALK training teaches participants how to recognize someone having thoughts of suicide, how to engage them, and how to make sure they get help. This evidence-based training is effective for people as young as 15 years old. Farmers, lenders, mediators, agency staff, clergy, educators, veterinarians, health care and social service providers, agricultural advisors, and business people are all invited to attend.

“The impact of suicide goes beyond the individual person or even the immediate family, and affects entire communities,” said MDH Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “It’s important for us to raise awareness about suicide and for us to share the fact that suicide is preventable, mental illness is treatable, and recovery is possible.”

“Unfortunately, farming communities experience more than their share of suicide,” said MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We want people to know what they can do to help when they see warning signs.”

The trainings run 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and take place on the following dates:

  • November 20, Faribault (South Central College) sold out 
  • November 21, Austin (Riverland Community College) sold out 
  • December 3, Marshall (MERIT Center) sold out
  • December 4, Waite Park (Quarry Center) sold out  
  • December 12 Willmar (Ridgewater College) 20 spots open * NEW 
  • December 13 Mankato (South Central College) 10 spots open  *NEW
  • January 22 St. Cloud (Quarry Center) 18 spots open *NEW

The training is free but pre-registration is required, as enrollment at each session is limited to 30 participants. Register today at