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May is Mental Health Awareness Month
by Dr. Karisha Devlin, University of Missouri Extension
Mental health issues are not unique. Data shows that 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime. Everyone has stress, but COVID-19 has ramped up stressed levels for all of us. While there are many resources available to rural Missourians to help with ongoing stresses, it can be difficult to find them. MU Extension and its partners through “Together We Can” are working together to help farmers, their friends and families, and rural communities find practical resources. The resources can be found at the MU Extension “Show-Me Strong Farm Families” Facebook page. Additionally, MU Extension has developed a toolkit to help friends and family members identify the warning signs of mental and physical stress, along with offering tips for managing stress.
During stressful times, it’s important to talk to someone and not keep things bottled up inside. Often, individuals may not reach out to someone or seek mental health care due to fear of embarrassment to themselves or their families. It can be hard to be vulnerable and share how we are really doing. In order to combat discomfort and provide anonymity, the below resources are available to offer confidential assistance through a simple phone call or text.
Preventing suicide means being informed and knowing what to do when you or someone you know is having a difficult time. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free, confidential assistance 24/7.5.
If you are a farmer or rancher who needs to talk to someone directly (or you are someone who is worried about a farmer), Iowa Concern is there to listen. You can call the hotline at 1-800-477-1985. Iowa Concern services are available 24/7.
“Missouri 2-1-1” is a free referral and informational helpline that connects people with a wide range of health and human services 24/7, simply dial 2-1-1 from any phone.
The MU Psychological Services Clinic is offering Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) Telepsychology services to help adults and children cope with anxiety and stress related to the COVID-19 crisis. To request services call 573-882-5808 or visit https://psychology.missouri.edu/psychological-services-clinic. All sessions will be delivered via videoconference or telephone. Due to the generosity of a donor, they are able to offer this program for FREE.
“The Crisis Text Line” provides access to free support 24/7 to anyone in any type of crisis. Text HOME to 741741.
If you see troubling signs or symptoms in a family member, friend, or neighbor, remember these five steps: ask, keep them safe, be there, help them connect, and follow up. Together we can break the stigma surrounding mental health care. For more information, visit http://extension.missouri.edu.