URBANA, Ill. – Mental health and substance use issues are common. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults lives with a mental illness according to the National Institute of Mental Health. From 1999 to 2016, 630,000 people died from drug overdose according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers have worse mental health than the general population. Give someone in your community a hand by learning how to recognize and respond when someone might need help with the free Mental Health First Aid workshop on January 19 offered by University of Illinois Extension and the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center.

Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based program, where participants learn and practice a five-step action plan to identify common signs and symptoms of someone coping with mental health or substance use problems and how to help. Gain skills to feel confident interacting with a person in crisis and leave with resources to connect the person with appropriate care. Topics also include trauma, addiction and self-care.

This training is open to the public and is appropriate for anyone in the agricultural community. Participants will build skills by practicing with real-world, agriculturally based scenarios.

Register for free online at go.illinois.edu/mentalhealth2022. Participants will complete a two-hour self-paced online training before joining the instructor for a live webinar 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT Wednesday, January 19. For more information, contact Karla Belzer at kbelzer@illinois.edu or (815) 632-3611.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the program coordinator at (815) 632-3611. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

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.

This program is affiliated with The North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center - a 12-state, 15-partner collaborative created to develop and expand stress management and mental health resources and services for agricultural producers and stakeholders in the North Central region. The North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center is funded by USDA NIFA (2020-70028-32728).

SOURCEKarla Belzer, Family Life Educator, University of Illinois Extension
WRITEREmily Steele, Writer, University of 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.