Rural Issue

MU Extension to expand rural mental health resources

The University of Missouri Extension is expanding mental health services for farmers and ag workers in rural Missouri.

MU received a three-year grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. The project provides stress assistance and suicide prevention services for farmers, ranchers and others in ag occupations.

All of the state’s 99 rural counties are short on mental health professionals and more than half of those counties have none. Suicide rates among rural Missourians rose nearly 80% from 2003 to 2017.

MU Extension faculty will train to become certified instructors for Mental Health First Aid. They’ll share information online and hold workshops for farmers and ranchers. The goal is to reach 800 farmers by the end of this year.

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