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SIU-C's Farm Family Resource Initiative looking to help farmers who feel overwhelmed

Farm Family Resource Initiative press conference
Kevin Boucher
Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II, Center, flanked by state and SIU leaders talks about the Farm Family Resource Initiative, on Monday May 16, 2022 at the SIU-C Farms.

May is mental health awareness month, and as the planting season kicks into high gear, farmers who are feeling overwhelmed can get professional help, from their own home. SIU's Karen Stallman, the coordinator of the Farm Family Resource Initiative, says the goal of the program is to cut down on a startling statistic.

The suicide rate among farmers, producers is generally higher than that of the general population.
Karen Stallman

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II, says the program features a toll free helpline , staffed 24 hours a day, that he urges farmers, and their families to use.

"So they'll pick up the phone and call this hotline. Or, shoot a text. I can't stress enough that this is anonymous."

The program also provides up to six free, telemedicine counseling sessions. For more information visit: https://www.siumed.edu/farm

Born in Newport, Rhode Island to a military family, Kevin Boucher traveled the country and the world at a young age before his family settled in Murphysboro, Illinois in 1976. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale and worked in commercial radio before becoming the Traffic Manager at WSIU Public Television. Boucher has since earned a Master's degree in Professional Media & Media Management Studies from SIU's College of Mass Communication & Media Arts. He is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys gardening and exploring the flora and fauna of the Shawnee National Forest and other beautiful natural areas across southern Illinois. Kevin is embarking on a new path with WSIU as the Community Engagement Producer for WSIU Radio. Look for Kevin's work on air and on line.
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