Webinar to provide health resources for drought-stressed farmers

September 18, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Although recent rainfall has eased the strain of drought on much of the Midwest's farmland, the strain on Midwestern farmers remains a major concern, says Paul Jones, Purdue AgrAbility Project manager.

The Indiana AgrAbility Project at Purdue University will host a free webinar on Sept. 27 to provide support and health resources for farmers. "Mental/Behavioral Health Resources for the Drought Aftermath" will begin at 3 p.m. (EDT).

"As disappointing harvests become a reality for many, the financial and emotional impacts of the drought may lead some farm families into crisis," Jones said.

The goal of the session is to give Midwestern farm families and Extension personnel health resources to help them cope with possible effects of the drought.

"We don't know the extent, but we know the drought will definitely affect farmers and their personal lives," Jones said. "We want to equip people with basic tools and resources so they can point those in trouble in the right direction to receive help."

The one-hour webinar will provide Extension educators, other agriculture professionals and farm families with resources to address mental or behavioral issues related to the drought.

Topics discussed at the webinar include:

* Mental health issues likely to be encountered by drought-stressed farmers, such as depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal thoughts and actions and substance abuse.

* Proper identification of signs and symptoms.

* Appropriate responses when interacting with farm family members.

* Referral sources for additional assistance.

* Training opportunities available through Mental Health First Aid.

Roberta Schweitzer, a former assistant professor in the Purdue School of Nursing, will lead the presentation. She collaborates with the Indiana AgrAbility/Breaking New Ground programs to explore rural stress and coping issues and to enhance mental health resources and well-being in farm families living with a chronic disability.

She has more than 20 years of professional experience in psychotherapy and counseling with individuals, families and groups and is a nationally certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid.

A question-and-answer period will follow Schweitzer's presentation.

To register, visit www.tinyurl.com/drought-webinar by Sept. 21. Instructions for accessing the webinar will be sent to registrants by Sept. 25.

The session will be recorded and archived at www.agrability.org/Online-Training/archived. For more information, contact AgrAbility at 800-825-4264 or agrability@agrability.org.

Writer: Amanda Gee, 765-496-2384. agee@purdue.edu

Source: Paul Jones, 765-494-1221, jonesp@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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