DECATUR, Ill. (NEXSTAR) – Governor Pritzker and other state officials made a stop at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur on Tuesday, where they announced the expansion of a mental health program aimed at helping farmers.
Through a partnership with the SIU School of medicine and the FFA Foundation, farmers in every county in Illinois will have access to a mental health hotline and telehealth mental health care.
“Now that program covers the entire state of Illinois, all 102 counties,” said Jerry Costello, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Director. “So we still have the original helpline, which is 833 Farm SOS. 833 Farm SOS. There’s also a text option, now an email option, as well as six free telehealth visits for anybody that may need those.”
The program originally launched as a pilot program in a handful of counties. Now, it is available across Illinois. The FFA Foundation will also get a grant from the state to create other programs in rural communities.
“FFA members are creative thinkers and know and understand their communities,” said FFA Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer. “I’m excited to see the unique ways our membership will look to tackle this challenge.”