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Mental Health Service for Farmers Expanded

Illinois farmers and their families will find help to deal with stress and mental health issues, state leaders announced recently.

Illinois Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II called farm-related stress and farmer mental health “a national public health emergency” in Illinois and elsewhere.

A $500,000 USDA grant will help expand the existing Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI) from six central Illinois pilot counties to every county. FFRI will add texting and email communication to its round-the-clock hotline at 833-FARM-SOS (833-327-6767).

FFRI is supported by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Southern Illinois University (SIU) Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development and University of Illinois Extension.

Along with more communication methods, FFRI will use the funding to increase awareness of its helpline, provide more mental health first aid training in the ag community, increase “agriculture literacy training” to help mental health providers better understand farm families and offer a voucher program for professional behavioral health services.

U of I Extension researchers are working to create and expand stress management and mental health resources and services to farmers and ag stakeholders as part of the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center, a 12-state collaborative.

For resources and information about FFRI, visit https://bit.ly/3t3g5rP.

Source: Illinois Farm Bureau