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Helping U.S. farmers with mental health

Helping U.S. farmers with mental health

A digital platform gives producers immediate access to online assistance

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

An online platform is available for farmers facing mental health challenges because of such stressors as planting delays and the ongoing trade wars.

SilverCloud provides users with secure and immediate access to online programs tailored to an individual’s needs. The platform is available to anyone who lives in an area serviced by OSF HealthCare.

The free download consists of seven modules that a user completes on his or her own time. Each module has specific suggestions and techniques that people are encouraged to apply in daily life. At regular intervals, a supporter checks a user’s progress and provides feedback and guidance.

Given the irregular hours farmers work, having access to an online form of mental health support is important, said Drew DeSutter, a producer from Woodhull, Ill., who has downloaded the program.

“This is at night before you go to bed you can work on it (or) if you’re sitting in the tractor and you have some down time,” he told WQAD. “You come home, and I think you’re a better person. We take care of our crops, we take care of our livestock, we should take care of our mental health as well.”

The Illinois Farm Bureau is also taking steps to address mental health in the ag industry.

The Adams County Farm Bureau in Quincy, Ill., is working with the Suicide Prevention Coalition to develop TV and print ads.

Putting important information in the right places could help farmers reach out for help, said Shawn Valter, manager of the Adams County Farm Bureau.

“In times of crisis, we want them to be able to turn to the Farm Bureau to say, ‘I need help,’ and we can point them in the right direction,” he told WBGZ. “We can put that in our local Farm Bureau newspapers that go out to the farmers.”

Farms.com has reached out to U.S. producers for tips on how they manage their mental health.

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