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Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Clearinghouse Available
Ohio Ag Connection - 09/25/2020

Midwest farmers and ranchers are facing unprecedented stressors and uncertainty imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, weather-related concerns and the derecho that impacted parts of the Midwest. As a result, mental health experts are predicting an increase in deaths by suicide due to the social isolation, economic stress and related factors.

"That is why it is so important that farmers, ranchers and the agribusiness community have quick access to available programs and materials," said David Brown, behavioral health specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Fortunately, resources are available through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Eight north central states have been collaborating to offer a clearinghouse of resources for the farm and ranch community. The current site can be accessed online at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/farm-ranch-wellbeing. This site offers information on programs, hotlines, websites, publications and more that can benefit farmers and ranchers in these challenging times. This site also can be used to access the farm stress related websites for every university extension service in the north central region.

"We are hoping this clearinghouse can assist farmers and ranchers and their family members who may be struggling with these challenging times," said Brown.

Any person in any north central state can also access the Iowa Concern Hotline. Offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, this hotline offers confidential access to stress counselors, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment.

For more information, contact David Brown at dnbrown@iastate.edu.

Finding Answers Now. As Iowans deal with disruptions to their families and communities, this website provides information to help you cope with concerns about stress and relationships, personal finance, and nutrition and wellness.

COVID Recovery Iowa offers a variety of services to anyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual counselors and consultants provide counseling, family finance consultation, farm financial consultation, referral information and help finding resources for any Iowan seeking personal support. Iowans of all ages may join groups online for activities and learn creative strategies for coping with the effects of the pandemic. COVID Recovery Iowa will announce upcoming programs on the website and via all social media to help Iowans build coping skills, resilience and emotional support. To request support, go to https://www.COVIDrecoveryiowa.org or call the Iowa Warm Line at 1-844-775-9276.

North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance (FRSAN) Program includes

- Kansas Ag Stress. Stress resources offered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

- Michigan State University Extension. Farm stress resources offered by MSU Extension.

- North Dakota State University Extension. Farm and ranch stress resources from NDSU Extension.

- Ohio State University Extension. Rural and farm stress resources from OSU Extension.

- Purdue University. Tools for Today's Farmers: Navigating Uncertain Times.

- South Dakota State University. Farm stress resources offered by SDSU.

- University of Minnesota. Rural stress resources from the University of Minnesota.

- University of Missouri. Show-Me Strong Farm Families. Mental health resources for consumers and professionals from the University of Missouri.

- University of Nebraska -- Rural Wellness. Focuses on identifying effective strategies and resources to reduce family stress and promote wellness in rural communities.

- University of Wisconsin. Resilient Farms, Families, Businesses & Communities: Responding to Stress. Farm stress and other community resources available.


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