In Missouri, family farms represent two-thirds of the total land acreage, making an $88.4 billion economic impact (Missouri Department of Agriculture 2021) in the state and supporting nearly 400,000 jobs. Agriculture has a rich history and is the livelihood of agriculture producers and their families. The development of mental and behavioral health services is a response to the economic challenges farmers experience.
MU Extension, affiliates and partners responded by taking concrete steps to create a supportive pathway by:
Creating networks of community support (local stakeholders) and connecting us to farmers and
ranchers who experienced stress, anxiety, and depression, to assist in sharing mental health tools
(Mental Health Tool Kit) and behavioral health resources.
Investing in training, Extension delivered and adapted Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), Q.P.R.
Gatekeeper (Question. Persuade. Refer.), Taking Care of You (TCoY), Tai Chi, and Weathering the
Storm in Agriculture: How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset programs in rural communities.
Providing free behavioral counseling and teletherapy services to farmers, ranchers, and farm
families experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Serving the agriculture community through the Iowa Concern helpline that employees trained
telephone responders providing referral for additional assistance.
Creating an online network, Show Me Strong Farm Families (@Show-Me Strong Farm Families), to
quickly share mental health tools and resources and workshops with rural communities and
producers experiencing emotional and financial stressors.
The program draws from the expertise of a large team of multi-disciplinary Extension educators and mental
and behavioral health professionals, which includes specialists in:
Nutrition, Health and Family
Agriculture and Environment
4-H Youth Development
Behavioral Health Counselors
Lincoln University, Missouri’s 1890 Land Grant Institution
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