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New program aims to help farmers with mental, physical health

Nearly every industry has felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the farming and agriculture industry in Illinois is no exception.

In light of the challenges faced by farmers this year, SIU Medicine in Carbondale along with the Illinois Department of Agriculture has launched a new program called the Farm Family Resource Initiative. The goal of the pilot program is to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of Illinois farm owners and their families.

Karen Stallmann, an Agriculture Resource Specialist at SIU, said someone should be there if an Illinois farmer needs a helping hand.

“Farmers take care of their crops, they take care of their livestock and their equipment, but often farmers don’t take care of themselves,” Stallmann said.

At the center of the program is a new telephone helpline. It is free of charge to farmers and their families who are in need of someone to talk to during their moments of stress. The number is 1-833-FARM-SOS.

SIU Medicine and its partners also plan to provide ongoing outreach, education and training programs to rural Illinois communities with free webinars. They will cover topics like signs of psychological stress, skill-building opportunities for coping strategies, and mental health first aid programs.

The pilot program is being launched in six counties: Christian, Macon, Logan, Sangamon, Macoupin and Morgan.

Stallmann said with funding, they hope to expand the program statewide.

“Maybe think about the 66 school of medicine counties, and then maybe think about going statewide, but we definitely want to expand,” Stallmann said.

This article was originally posted on New program aims to help farmers with mental, physical health

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