$ 500,000 Federal Grant to Support Mental Health of Iowa Farmers | Colorado Springs News

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A A federal grant of $ 500,000 will be used to expand mental health resources for Iowa farmers and rural communities, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced Thursday.

The department received the grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture after applying through the Farm and Livestock Support Network Program.

“We all need help from time to time and farmers and landowners are no exception,” Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Secretary Mike Naig said. in a press release. “Some of the challenges they face are unique, such as long-term financial stress, unpredictable weather conditions and market uncertainty. We want anyone who experiences additional stress and mental health issues to know that She is not alone.”

Iowa State University vice president of extension and outreach, John Lawrence, said in the statement that while commodity prices have improved, the 2020 derecho and the 2020 and 2021 drought have had an impact on farmers.

Grant will support outreach and outreach staff at Iowa State University community outreach and programming for people involved in agriculture and “those who support them”, a facilitator training to family strengthening programs and awareness of stress relief, wellness and family finance program options, the statement said.

Iowa State University Behavioral Health Outreach and Outreach Specialist David Brown told The Center Square in an emailed statement that they are offering a suicide prevention program , “Stress on the Farm: Strategies to Help Each Other,” at 95 Farm Bill meetings with 4,376 farmers and landowners from November 2019 to February 2020, and provided the Question.Persuade.Refer suicide prevention program at 539 participants in 35 virtual programs in 2020. In fiscal year 2021, the extension delivered 23 mental health first aid courses to 310 participants, including agribusiness professionals, extension, staff, teachers and human service providers.

The grant will also support a program that the university is developing in collaboration with the Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Iowa: “Relationships Can Heal: Know the Farmer Customer,” which will focus on different aspects. of agriculture in Iowa and why mental health and medical professionals should know more about agriculture, he said.

NAMI Iowa Executive Director Peggy Huppert told The Center Square that tailored resources are vital.

“I’ve heard frequently… that there aren’t many therapists who really understand what a farmer is facing and what their life is really like… so the more specific resources and type of peer support that they can get from understanding what they are facing, what they are faced with every day is… a good thing, ”she said.

Huppert said there is a high rate of suicide among farmers. She attributed this to “a shortage of services”, “easy access to a gun” and isolation.

“You may have to drive for two hours to find a clinician who can help you, and often farmers are unable or unwilling to spend that time researching these resources,” she said.

Telehealth has improved access to services, she said.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 enacted the expansion of stress relief programs for people working in agriculture. Each state’s appropriation was $ 500,000. Within 180 days of the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Iowa and each other state receiving the grants will be required to report to the Secretary of Agriculture what activities have been carried out using the funds, the amount funds used for each activity and an estimate of how many individuals each activity helped. The secretary may encourage state departments of agriculture to use the funds to support programs run by state cooperative extension services, nongovernmental organizations, and Indian tribes.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides a free, confidential source of legal, financial, mental health and disaster recovery assistance, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through its Iowa Hotline. The number is 1-800-447-1985.

Original location: $ 500,000 Federal Grant to Support Mental Health of Iowa Farmers

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