Rural communities learn ways to recognize, manage stress

URBANA, Ill. - Volatile crop prices, global markets, and natural disasters create stress for rural residents, farmers, and ranchers. Even before the current health crisis, rural communities across the Midwest were dealing with additional economic stressors, such as the closing of coal-fired electric plants, off-shore manufacturing, and reduced demand for oil and gas.

"Rural communities have seen increasing levels of suicide," says Pam Schallhorn, University of Illinois Extension specialist. "With limited access to mental health services, rural communities have been hit hard."

The ability to recognize and manage stress is crucial, Schallhorn says. Extension is providing support to stressed workers in a webinar: Recognizing and Managing Stress. Schallhorn will teach methods for identifying stress and provide techniques for offering empathy and active listening.

There are two opportunities to participate: 1 p.m. July 14 and 5 p.m. July 28. There is no charge to attend, but registration is required. To request reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact Nikki Kelner. Early requests are encouraged.

“Extension is committed to helping families with the effects of farm stress and continue to offer programs which supports building resilience,” says Margaret Larson, Extension county director. “We hope this webinar will allow us to continue the conversation and provide more useful facts and strategies for our local audience.”

Schallhorn is working with a team of Michigan State University professors and Extension specialists teaching farm stress training to Farm Service Agency employees and members of the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and communities to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.