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State allocates half million dollars to support farm-focused mental health programs

State allocates half million dollars to support farm-focused mental health programs

Help those with issues

From free counseling to farm stress hotlines, farmers and ranchers across South Dakota are being offered better access to mental health and behavioral health programs.

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) allocated $500,000 to support such programs for rural areas and specifically farmers and ranchers across the state.

“Months of drought in addition to low prices for our cattle producers has taken a toll on farmers and ranchers across the state,” DANR Secretary Hunter Roberts said in a news release Wednesday. “I strongly encourage our producers to take advantage of these resources and reach out for assistance if you need it. No one should wait to be in crisis to seek the care they need.”

DANR is partnering with the Department of Social Services (DSS), Avera Health, and South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension to fund new and existing programs.

DSS will receive $120,000 to support its behavioral health voucher program through 605 Strong. With this funding, farmers and ranchers will be eligible to receive mental health or substance use disorder counseling at no cost. To access the program, call 211 or visit https://www.605strong.com/#voucher-program.

Avera will receive $100,000 to support its Farm and Rural Stress Hotline. This funding will assist with operational costs for the hotline to continue to support our producers. Farmers and ranchers can reach the hotline at 1-800-691-4336.

SDSU Extension will receive $245,000 to support new and existing mental health programs targeting producers. This includes agricultural behavioral health training for professionals and expanding programs, including: Sustaining the Legacy and QPR Institute suicide prevention trainings across South Dakota.

DANR will receive $35,000 to promote the expansion of the behavioral health voucher program.

Funding for this grant was provided by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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