Mental Health Among Farmworkers in the Eastern United States

  • Joseph G. Grzywacz


Farmworker mental health research is sparse, particularly in the eastern United States. Nevertheless, available evidence suggests that 20–50% of farmworkers have poor mental health as indicated by elevated symptoms of depression or anxiety, frequent heavy alcohol consumption, or recent experiences of lay-defined illnesses like susto or nervios. Farmworkers’ poor mental health likely results from a variety of structural and social factors, including the absence of fixed-term permanent employment, poverty-level wages, separation from family and community for extended periods of time, and hostile attitudes toward immigrants. The challenge of poor mental health is exaggerated by the relative absence of mental health services for farmworkers and farmworker advocates’ inability to initiate and sustain policy changes to better protect and treat mental health. Collectively, the available evidence suggests that farmworker mental health is a multifaceted social justice issue, especially in the eastern US.


Mental Health Mental Health Service Mental Health Problem Mental Health Treatment Poor Mental Health 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph G. Grzywacz
    • 1
  1. 1.Associate Professor of Family and Community MedicineWake Forest University School of MedicineUSA

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