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Virtual event aims to tackle mental health challenges in agricultural communities

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Farmers and their families often grapple with various stressors, including financial pressures, unpredictable weather conditions and the isolation of rural living. These challenges can contribute to feelings of depression, anxiety and even suicidality. SIU Medicine’s Farm Family Resource Initiative will host a virtual event designed to address the pressing mental health concerns facing farmers and their families.

"Fielding Resilience: Identifying and Supporting Struggling Farmers" will be presented via Zoom from noon - 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27.

Dr. Nick Weshinskey, a licensed professional educator and nationally certified counselor, will lead the event. He will discuss mental health challenges prevalent in the ag industry, and equip participants with the tools to identify signs of distress and to provide support and resources for those in need.

Farm families, agricultural professionals, community leaders, health care providers and all those interested in supporting the mental health and well-being of farmers are invited to attend. There is no cost, but space is limited; early registration is encouraged. Registration is here.

The program receives support from the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and the Illinois Department of Agriculture in cooperation with USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

For more information, please contact Karen Stallman at 618-713-0759 or ffri@siu.edu. Learn more about SIU Medicine’s Farm Family Resource Initiative at siumed.org/farm.

The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development (CRHSSD) is leading the effort to build a network of support and resources for Illinois farm families. The purpose of the Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI) is to provide a range of resources including a helpline to assist with farmer and farm-related issues that include mental and physical health needs. Additionally, the initiative offers ongoing outreach, education and training to rural clients and partners working to improve the health and safety of farm families. 

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