HAVANA, Ill. — Local 4-H members are showing their thanks to area farmers in a big way this season. The gift looks small but in reality, it comes with a life-saving message.
Mason County 4-H Federation members recently partnered with the Mason County Farm Bureau on a holiday community service project. The 4-H members wanted to thank farmers and those in the agricultural industry workforce for all they do to help feed the world. They also wanted to use the opportunity to share an important message from the Illinois Farm Bureau to help anyone struggling with daily stress, anxiety, depression, addiction or other mental health challenges.
The 4-H Federation members handed out gifts to truck drivers and farmers who were hauling in loads of grain to the Havana ADM facility. The snowman-themed, wrapped gifts consisted of candy and snacks along with a pair of gloves, which were donated by the Havana Farm & Home Store. Attached to each wrapped package was a card from the Mason County Farm Bureau titled “Stronger Together”. Inside the card, the recipient will find information on crisis signs and symptoms, and resource information to seek in a time of mental or emotional health crisis.
According to Illinois Farm Bureau, 1 in 5 adults (18.5%) in the U.S. have a mental health disorder in any one year. Almost 15 million Americans suffer from depression. Farmers are great at taking care of our land and livestock, but not always at taking care of themselves. The message from the Illinois Farm Bureau encourages farmers and their families to take time to put themselves first. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the U.S. Depression and anxiety are highly treatable with medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
Over 60 grain trucks rolled through the ADM facility in a short two-hour time span on Thursday, December 12. This busy grain contract time allowed the youth to reach a large number of farmers and drivers. 4-H members have a few additional dates planned to be out handing out these special gifts. If you would like more information or a few copies of the “Stronger Together” brochure, contact University of Illinois Extension, Mason branch office at 309-543-3308 or Mason County Farm Bureau at 309-543-4451.
Crisis signs and symptoms as listed in the “Stronger Together” brochure are:
- Decline in care of crops, animals, and farm (for farmers)
- Changes in sleeping and eating habits
- Poor concentration
- Excessive drinking
- Thoughts of suicide
- Constant fatigue
- Neglect of personal appearance
- Withdrawal from friends and family
If you or someone you know is struggling with daily stress, anxiety, depression, addiction or other mental health challenges, you are not alone. Reach out and ask for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7. Farm Aid Farmer Hotline 1-800-FARM-AID (1800-327-6243). Call 9-1-1 for emergencies.
For more information about 4-H in Mason County, contact Joli Pierson, Mason County 4-H Program Coordinator via email: firstname.lastname@example.org , phone: (309) 543-3308, University of Illinois Extension Fulton-Mason-Tazewell-Peoria Unit, 127 S. High St. Havana, IL 62644.
— University of Illinois Extension
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