Online farm stress training is free and open to the public

Online course to better equip farmers, their families, and the agricultural community with tools and resources to help in stressful times

Men shaking hands in a field

What is farm stress and how can you help? With the current uncertainties the farming community is facing, it’s likely that you or a fellow farmer could experience effects of stress. You or someone you know may be struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, indecision, or thoughts of suicide. Would you know what to say or do if you were personally experiencing or confronted with those situations?

Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Michigan State University Extension has partnered with others from the USDA’s Cooperative Extension System, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation, and National Farmers Union to create a free online course that is now available and open to the public.

About the Course

The free online course brings together the knowledge of agricultural conditions and evidence-based approaches in behavioral health to help people recognize the signs of stress and better equip farmers and the agricultural community with tools and resources to help in time of need. The course has been designed to provide an opportunity to interactively learn about farm stress and how to help others manage stress through an online platform that consists of three units; Managing Stress, Communicating with Distressed Farmers, and Suicide Awareness. The engaging content is self-paced and offers several voice-over slide presentations, videos, and downloadable resources.

By completing the course, you can improve your knowledge and skills to know best approaches in helping farmers and ranchers find their own solutions through communication strategies shared. Additionally, the information will help you recognize and aid someone who is showing signs of suicidal thoughts. National hotlines, mental health support options, as well as ideas for community-based support are provided.

If you have questions about MSU Extension’s farm stress management resources and programs, or if you would like to know more about this training online, please contact Extension Educator, Remington Rice, PhD at riceremi@msu.edu. To register and access the course, visit: https://www.canr.msu.edu/courses/rural-resilience-open-online-course

PLEASE NOTE: The information presented in this course is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical or public health advice, or other advice for any issue or subject. If you have any concerns about a particular mental health condition, please seek help from licensed providers.

Opportunities to connect

Michigan State University Extension’s many resources and information on farm stress can be found at the Managing Farm Stress website, access to the teletherapy pilot project MSU Extension Teletherapy, and free online farm stress training Rural Resilience Open Online Course. There you will find descriptions of programs such as Communicating with Farmers Under Stress and Weathering the Storm, as well as other articles, projects, and resources. Learning self-awareness, signs and symptoms of stress, mental illness and suicide can better enable the farming community to support each other during trialing times.

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