Rural mental health resources expand during Farm Progress Show

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Rural mental health resources expand during Farm Progress Show

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello address media during the 2021 Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

Agriculture industry leaders in Illinois agree it is time that mental health in rural America is treated as a primary healthcare service instead of a secondary one

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says stressors in ag have increased during the pandemic. “During which this industry has kept right on going so that the rest o the world could stay nourished. The pressures have been intense. The need to tailor mental health resources to better support farmers and farm families has become all the more clear.”

During the 2021 Farm Progress Show Pritzker announced they would use a grant from the USDA’s Farm and Ranch Assistance Network to expand the Illinois Family Farm Resource Initiative including text and email options in addition to a phone hotline offered statewide. This will also help fund outreach and mental health first aid training for people in the Illinois ag community.

But, University of Illinois Extension Specialist Josie Rudolphi tells Brownfield it is a nationwide issue. “We certainly hope that other states will look to Illinois as a model of how you invest in the health, safety and mental health of the farming community.”

For mental health resources, farmers and rural residents across the Midwest can can call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985, where someone is there to talk you through agriculture specific stressors 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The Illinois hotline will soon be accessible by residents in all 102 counties by calling 1-833-FARM-SOS.

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