Mental Health Heroes - Eliza Jane Glover - Senior at UGA and 5th-generation Farmer

Eliza Jane Glover  social
Eliza Jane Glover - Senior at UGA and 5th-generation Farmer

Eliza Jane Glover, a past intern with the Georgia Department of Agriculture (Summer 2023), brings valuable insights to this week's Mental Health Heroes feature. As a fifth-generation farmer, Eliza's roots in agriculture run deep. Raised in the operations of Glo-Crest Dairy and Mountain Fresh Creamery in Clermont, she understands the challenges faced by farmers. Eliza is dedicated to supporting mental health resources for the agricultural community, drawing from her firsthand experience and commitment to the industry. She has set herself as a personal and professional resource, actively educating herself to strengthen her support for Georgia's agricultural community and advocating strongly for mental health awareness within it.

What drew you to focus on the mental health of Georgia's agricultural community?
As the daughter of a fourth-generation dairy farmer, I have seen firsthand the struggles farmers go through. I believe any little bit of awareness we bring to this issue shows farmers it's okay to talk about this and that they can get help. This industry is very rewarding in the fact that we, as farmers, are feeding America, with our livelihood depends on whether or not our crops and animals are produced. With the current labor shortages, it has added a lot of stress to farmers. Not having employees to help harvest adds to working longer hours and more stress for the farmer.

Why is it important to focus on farmers?
My favorite quote about farmers is, "Farmers are 2% of the population feeding the 100%." It is so important for us to focus on our farmers because, without them, we would not have food on our tables or clothes on our bodies. Today, as it is more of a "hush and get your work done" and don't bring up your feelings, farmers often put up a hard façade. For years, farming had one of the highest suicide rates; with input prices going up and output prices going down, farmers struggled to keep up with the growing demand for lower food prices and the want for more organic and non-GMO foods.

How can we help people in our community that may be struggling with their mental health?
We can help people in our community by asking questions! Ask, "Are you okay? How is everything going?" Opening the air for this type of conversation is good and shows people that it is a safe place to talk about things like this. Showing that you are a good listener and that you care! I have found that simply listening and asking questions helps me figure out how I can help.

If you could only choose one mental health tip or piece of advice to share, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would like to share is to reach out! There are people who want to help you and want to make sure you know that you are not alone! This world can be so lonely, but some people in the agricultural industry want to help and care for you! This industry is like a big family sharing the same values and goals.

What is your favorite way to maintain your own mental health?
Personally, I love being outside! Reading a book or anything that can turn my brain "off." Being able to focus on myself and my breathing. Another way I like to help maintain my mental health is by volunteering! Giving back to my community helps me have a new perspective on life.