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Senators Rally for Mental Health Support in Agriculture

Illinois Senators Paul Faraci and Doris Turner are supporting new mental health services for rural farmers. The initiative started by former State Senator Scott Bennett, aims to address the mental health challenges faced by farmers, whose livelihoods often hinge on factors beyond their control.

Turner, Chair of the Illinois Senate Agriculture Committee, emphasized that mental health affects farmers profoundly, given the unpredictable nature of their profession. The Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI), initially piloted by the SIU School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, extended access to telehealth mental health services and a helpline across all 102 counties in the state.

The program now provides family members with up to six free telehealth mental health sessions. Grants of $1,000 each are available to FFA chapters for local initiatives promoting mental health awareness in schools and communities. Faraci is committed to advancing Bennett's work and collaborating with the Illinois Department of Agriculture to expand accessibility to farmers statewide.

Faraci remarked that the FFRI program has enabled farmers to openly discuss their challenges and emphasized the importance of seeking help, particularly regarding mental health concerns.


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