Madison Stewart Poster

Perceptions of Mental Health Care Acceptability: Understanding How Knowledge Gaps Hinder Rural Access

Madison Stewart, MS, University of Iowa; Brandi Janssen, PhD, University of Iowa

Madison Stewart is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa’s agricultural safety and health program. Her thesis research project explored how the barrier of acceptability impacts farmers’ perceptions of mental healthcare and providers.

Learning objectives:
1. Participants will further their understanding of barriers to mental healthcare
2. Participants will be educated on the culturally relevant topics that impact farmer mental health

Click here to open the full poster or below to read the abstract


Farming is a stressful job that can negatively impact mental health. Mental health services are a source of treatment for improving farmer mental health. However, farmers may not be able to access mental health services when experiencing stress due to a variety of barriers present in rural areas. One common barrier, referred to as acceptability, is how the farmer views the effectiveness of their treatment or their provider. By understanding what farmers perceive as important topics for providers to know, acceptability of care and participation in services could be improved. This study interviewed both Iowa farmers and mental health providers in order to better understand what agricultural topics are considered important for providers to know and why. Many of the farmers believed that there were either not enough providers that understood agriculture or that available providers did not know enough about agriculture. The participants also identified two main categories of important knowledge—job-related and cultural sources of stress. The farmers emphasized that knowing these topics about agriculture is important for trusting and respecting their providers. They also believed that education would not be sufficient to understand agriculture and that providers should network with those in the agricultural community as well. The topics and recommendations identified in this study can be used as evidence for implementing culturally competent care and interventions.