URBANA, Ill. – America's farm families are paying a heavy mental toll as they deal with unpredictable weather, variable input costs, long work hours, and unpredictable commodity prices. A gap exists between farm families and the resources they need to keep them safe.

University of Illinois Extension believes ag producers, agribusiness personnel, and others who support the agricultural community can stand in the gap and connect Illinois farmers with the resources they need. 

"As their neighbors, customers, business partners, and clients, you may feel helpless," says Karla Belzer, Extension family life educator, "but Illinois Extension can provide you the tools to identify mental health issues in our agricultural communities and the communication skills to support and save lives."

Two day-long online training opportunities are available: June 29 and July 28. Participants should select one date when they register at go.illinois.edu/mentalhealth2021. Register by June 15 for the June training. Trainings begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

Prior to the live video conference, participants will complete a two-hour self-paced online course. Topics covered in the webinar include mental illness symptoms, substance use signs and addiction, crisis interaction, trauma, and self care.

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 email Belzer at kbelzer@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.