Farmer mental health initiatives highlighted

Studstill Media Photo

SPRINGFIELD – May is Mental Health Awareness month and that also coincides with the spring planting season. Spring and fall are often the most stressful times for farmers and the late start to spring has left many scrambling to get their crops in the ground. In 2019, the Farm Family Resource Initiative was established to specifically address mental health needs of farming and agricultural communities. Led by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and funded through a USDA grant, FFRI expanded to all 102 counties in 2021. During the last legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly appropriated an additional $500,000 to ensure the telephone hotline connecting farmers with mental health resources and providers remains operational through 2023.

“In just a few short years, the FFRI has already helped many in our farming communities,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II.

The group will make stops across the state to provide information about the program, including in Kankakee on May 17th at the County U of I Extension Office at 2 PM

Farmers who are seeking assistance can reach their website at

You can also call or text 1(833)FARM-SOS