Living rurally has many benefits: knowing your neighbours, feeling a part of your community, lower crime rates, and a closer connection to nature are just some of the reasons people choose to live in a small town. However, there are also challenges to rural life. Many rural communities have experienced rapid change and uncertainty over the past several years, in large part due to changes within agriculture and other industries. Some unique rural stressors include:
- Rural de-population
- Business closures
- School amalgamations/closures
- Less access to services (health care, counselling, etc.)
- Higher travel costs and time associated with accessing services
- Lack of anonymity
Reaching out for help can also be challenging in a smaller community. Many towns simply do not have mental health and other services that are available in larger centres. You may be concerned about anonymity or confidentiality when ‘everyone knows everyone’. You may not be familiar with the counselling process or how it might help. Barriers to getting help (real or perceived) can add to the severity and longevity of your stress levels.
Signs of Stress
Stress is a “normal reaction to situations that are perceived to be challenges or threats”. It is our reaction to events, not the events themselves, that cause stress. People have a variety of ways (healthy and unhealthy) to cope with stress. Sometimes we can begin to feel overwhelmed and unable to manage. Unresolved stress can lead to serious physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or behavioural problems or illnesses. Our work, our relationships, and our health can deteriorate.
The Counsellors at the Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services understand rural living and rural people. No matter what the issue – big or small – we are here to listen and support. You can call or chat online for yourself, or for someone you care about.
- Free and confidential (phone and online)