Mental health workshops now accepting registrations |

INDIANAPOLIS – To mark National Rural Health Day, Lt. gov. Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Rural Health Association announced three new mental health initiatives aimed at farmers and members of the farming community.

Dubbed Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives, these initiatives include community workshops, virtual suicide prevention training sessions, and hour-long agribusiness sessions that address the stigma of mental health and the resources available to help those in need. Every event is free.

“First, these initiatives will increase fundamental awareness of existing mental health resources in the farming community,” Crouch said. “They will also help identify stressors, reduce stigma and better identify mental health needs in agriculture. And by making it free and open to all, I hope more rural Hoosiers will participate and learn how to help themselves and each other.”

ISDA will work with IRHA to help those who live and work in agriculture feel more comfortable talking about mental health care options by holding free, regional community workshops across Indiana. Discussions about mental health stigma and resources, as well as recognizing signs of people with mental health problems will be discussed.

“Indiana is a very rural state with many farming and farming bases in many cities and towns. These suicide prevention workshops, agribusiness sessions and training sessions will help provide these communities with the tools they need to recognize stress, related mental health issues and mental health crises that, unfortunately, can lead to suicide attempts,” said Kathy Walker, Program Director, Indiana Rural Heath Association. “It is vital that we reach out to our farmers, farming families, agribusinesses and those who provide services to the farming community.”

Community workshops and online suicide prevention training are open to anyone interested in learning more about mental health in agriculture, including but not limited to farmers, farming families, agribusinesses, loan officers, religious leaders, rural health workers and more.

IRHA hosts three regional community workshops:

December 7th, Ivy Tech, Logansport, 8am-11am;

Jan. 18, Community Foundation, Seymour, 8-11 a.m.; and

February 15, Fire Brigade, Warsaw, 8-11 am

IRHA is hosting three online virtual suicide prevention training courses titled Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR):

January 4th, February 8th and March 1st. All three sessions can be attended at this link: indianaruralhealth.org/events/2023/01/04/virtual-event/healthy-minds-healthy-lives-qpr-training/.

One-hour agribusiness-focused sessions include educational sessions where an agribusiness or organization can host IRHA to introduce their employees, board members or rural community members about mental health services and stigma surrounding agriculture.

These sessions can be standalone services or in conjunction with an already scheduled meeting. To schedule a one-hour training session for your staff, board members, or others, contact Kathy Walker at [email protected]

“Several of these community workshops were held last year and we look forward to getting them up and running again alongside new programs,” said ISDA Director Bruce Kettler. “Agribusinesses conduct incredibly important and stressful operations throughout the year. Hoosiers and millions worldwide would not eat without their dedication to raising animals and growing crops. I am confident that these workshops, online training courses and meetings can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and show members of the rural community that help is available.”

IRHA CEO Cara Veale is excited about the expanded community opportunities under the Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives program.

“We at the Indiana Rural Health Association are thrilled to be working with the Indiana Department of Agriculture to provide a great program and resources for farmers and farming families. We know the importance of a healthy mind and want to be sure that we are supporting our Indiana farmers and their families by educating them about available resources and ways to ensure positive mental health,” said Veale.

Last year, ISDA received a $500,000 grant from the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) program of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). A portion of the funding was provided to the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) to reduce mental health stigma and connect individuals with resources.

To learn more, view additional training opportunities, or sign up, visit indianaruralhealth.org.

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