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Discover strategies for addressing mental health challenges in the agricultural community

3 people walking in a farm

URBANA, Ill. — Mental health and substance use issues are widespread. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a mental illness. In addition, over the past 20 years, an estimated 630,000 people have lost their lives to drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These alarming statistics underscore the urgent need for comprehensive support, awareness, and intervention. 

Illinois Extension, in collaboration with the Farm Family Resource Initiative and the SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health & Social Service Development, is offering an online Mental Health First Aid training specifically for the agriculture community on June 11 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants can select the most convenient date for them. 

“This one-day event aims to equip attendees with essential knowledge and skills to effectively support individuals experiencing mental health or substance use challenges within the agricultural sector,” says Tessa Hobbs-Curley, Extension family life educator. "Adult mental health first aid is essential because it empowers individuals to recognize signs of mental health distress and respond with compassion and skill.”

Register for free at Upon registration, participants will receive instructions on how to complete the prework required to attend. Deadline for registration: May 31.

For more information or if a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in this program, contact Robin Ridgley at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet access needs.

SOURCE: Robin Ridgley, family life educator, Illinois Extension.

WRITER: Herbert Chavez, media communications coordinator, Illinois Extension.

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.