Mental health help available for Illinois farmers
Today at Deere & Co. World Headquarters in Moline, Jerry Costello, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, announced that farmers across the state now have access to six free counseling sessions and to other mental health resources.
Costello says the program is called the Farm Family Resource Initiative. It started as a pilot project in six counties in 2019. But now Illinois farmers and their families can get help through a mental health hotline, email or text message, as well as a website featuring webinars, articles and other resources.
He says the weather is delaying the planting season, which is causing a lot of stress for farmers. The added stress caused by the rising cost of farming due to supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine is further aggravating the situation.
Karen Stallman works for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and directs the Farm Family Resource Initiative. She says all services are confidential, including the mental health helpline.
Rock Island State Rep. Mike Halpin joined Costello and Stallman in promoting the initiative. He also works with University of Illinois extension offices statewide to help coordinate resources to help farmers and raise awareness that mental health help is available.
The hotline is 1.833.FARM.SOS or 1.833.327.6767. And the website is SIUMed.org/farm.
In Iowa, help for farmers and their families is available through the Iowa State Extension and the Iowa Concern hotline, 1.800.447.1985.