FREEPORT, Ill. — Stress on farmers, ranchers and their families caused by lower crop prices, retracting global markets and natural disasters is still an ongoing issue especially in rural areas. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, rural communities across the Midwest were dealing with additional economic stressors including the closing of coal-fired electric plants, offshored manufacturing and reduced demand for oil and gas due to overproduction globally.
As a result, rural communities have seen increasing levels of suicide from within a variety of industries and occupations. With limited access to mental health services rural communities are usually the hardest hit.
Having the ability to recognize and manage stress is crucial. The University of Illinois Extension has designed a program, Recognizing and Managing Stress Webinar, that will provide participants with: (1) methods for identifying stress within themselves and others; (2) techniques on providing empathy and active listening; (3) examples of constructive emotion-focused coping skills; and (4) a guide to identifying warning signs of suicide and effective research-based actions to take if you feel someone is having thoughts of death or dying.
“This program is a follow up to the session we hosted in the spring of 2019, which provided basic information about farm stress and its affects,” said Margaret Larson, County Director, University of Illinois Extension. “We are hoping that this webinar will allow us to continue the conversation and provide more useful facts and strategies for our local audience (partners, ag business people, etc).”
The Recognizing and Managing Stress Webinar will be offered twice, Tuesday, July 14 at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, July 28 at 5 p.m. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required and can be completed on-line at https://extension.illinois.edu/jsw.
The presenter, Pam Schallhorn, is an Extension Specialist in Community & Economic Development. For the last two years, she has been working with a small team of professors and Extension specialists led by Michigan State University teaching Farm Stress training to Farm Service Agency employees, and members of the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union.
For more information about this program, visit https://extension.illinois.edu/jsw or call the office at 815-235-4125. Additional farm stress resources can be found at: https://extension.illinois.edu/jsw/commercial-agriculture.
— University of Illinois Extension
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