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Public Safety & Health

Mental Health Help Available for Illinois Farmers

IMG_4614 Halpin Costello Stallman.JPG
Michelle O'Neill
Rock Island St. Rep. Mike Halpin (L), IL DOA Dir. Jerry Costello (C) & Karen Stallman, head of the Farm Family Resource Initiative at the SIU School of Medicine

Illinois is spending more money to help farmers cope with stress and mental health issues.

Today at Deere & Co. World Headquarters in Moline, Jerry Costello, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, announced farmers all over the state now have access to six, free counseling sessions and other mental health resources.

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Michelle O'Neill
Jerry Costello, Director of the IL Dept. of Agriculture, discussing how stress affects farmers

Costello says the program is called the Farm Family Resource Initiative. It started as a six-county pilot in 2019. But now, Illinois farmers and their families can get help via a mental health hotline, email, or text, plus a website featuring webinars, articles, and other resources.

He says the weather is delaying the planting season, and that causes farmers a lot of stress. The additional stress caused by the increased cost of farming due to supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine makes it even worse.

Karen Stallman works for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and runs the Farm Family Resource Initiative. She says all the services are confidential including the mental health hotline.

Rock Island State Representative Mike Halpin joined Costello and Stallman to promote the initiative. It also works with University of Illinois Extension offices around the state to help coordinate resources to help farmers and spread the word 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.

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