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Help save lives, learn how to support mental health in farm, rural communities

URBANA, Ill. – America's farm families pay a heavy mental toll as they deal with unpredictable weather, long work hours, and unpredictable commodity prices. But a gap exists between agricultural workers and the resources they need to stay safe and healthy.

Ag producers, agribusiness personnel, and others who support the agricultural community can stand in the gap and help identify when Illinois farmers, ranchers, and families need. 

"As their neighbors, customers, business partners, and clients, you may feel helpless," says Tessa Hobbs-Curley, Extension family life educator. "But Illinois Extension can provide you the tools to identify mental health issues in agricultural communities and reduce stigma.”

Participants will complete a two-hour self-paced online course that will teach them communication skills to support and save lives. Topics will include mental illness symptoms, substance use signs and addiction, crisis interaction, trauma, and self-care.

Then, they will join a live online training from 8 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. on October 21 or December 10. Register at

The work is supported by Illinois Extension specialists Josie Rudolphi and Courtney Cuthbertson as part of the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center, funded by USDA NIFA.

If you will need an accommodation in order to participate, please contact Tessa Hobbs-Curley. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

SOURCESTessa Hobbs-Curley, Family Life Extension Educator, Illinois Extension
WRITEREmily Steele, 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.