CARBONDALE, Ill. — Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) Director Jerry Costello II highlighted the availability of mental health resources through the Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI) on May 30. He was joined by representatives of SIU Medicine and Josh and Emily Reinhardt, dairy farmers from Red Bud, Ill., at the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development on the SIU Carbondale campus. May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Although May is coming to an end, the spring planting season is still underway and a stressful time for farmers and their families,” said Costello. “I’m pleased Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly have continued funding for this important program in the recently passed state budget. The helpline will remain available to anyone needing mental health services.”
The FFRI provides a range of resources including a helpline to assist with farmer and farm-related issues that include mental and physical health needs. The initiative also offers ongoing outreach, education and training to rural clients and partners working to improve the health and safety of farm families. The 24/7 helpline of 1-833-FARM-SOS (327-6767) allows farm families to access telehealth counseling sessions through the SIU School of Medicine. Up to six individual, couple or group sessions are available at no cost to the farmer or farm family member with the support of grant funding.
“While Mental Health Awareness Month is a great time to showcase the work of the Farm Family Resource Initiative, the value of the program and the need for it are demonstrated every day,” said Karen Leavitt Stallman, Ag Resource Specialist, Farm Family Resource Initiative, SIU School of Medicine.
— State of Illinois