photo credit: AFBF
When a storm comes rolling through or tragedy strikes, farmers and ranchers are always willing to pitch in to help our family, friends or community. It’s how we are wired. We are built for community and ready to help, no matter the challenge. But what about the storms and issues brewing within our own minds? Too often, because of our quiet strength or other pressures, farmers try to take on our internal battles alone, despite there being countless folks out there eager to support us.
At our annual convention in Salt Lake City, we announced our partnership with the Farm Family Wellness Alliance and launched access to Togetherall, a resource that provides a safe, anonymous online peer-to-peer community moderated 24/7 by licensed mental health professionals.
The Farm Family Wellness Alliance is made up of Farm Foundation, American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit, CoBank, Iowa Farm Bureau, CHS, Land O’Lakes, National Farmers Union, 4H, FFA, Agriculture Future of America, Togetherall and Personal Assistance Services (PAS). This coalition of agriculture organizations understands the far-reaching impacts of mental health and well-being across rural America and know that working together will have a greater impact.
Community is critical for us to thrive, and a healthy farm is nothing without a healthy you.
Many times, folks are hesitant to reach out for help or simply don’t know where to start. And that’s where Togetherall comes in. Thanks to this work with the Farm Family Wellness Alliance, mental health and wellbeing solutions are now available to our nation’s farmers and their family members who are aged 16 or older. Together, we can deepen the impact of our greatest resource—community.
Rural mental health has long been a priority for AFBF and we are excited to continue to expand our toolbox of resources and help make community and support more available to our farm family members.
So how can you access this resource or share it with a friend or family member? It’s easy to set up an anonymous profile, and from there, you can access the network of peers through community discussions and one-on-one chats, receive confidential and on-demand support from mental health professionals and explore a library of resources filled with self-assessments and self-help courses. And get this… through the Alliance’s partnership with PAS, if additional wellbeing or counseling services are needed, they will be made available to farm families free-of-charge.
In addition to Togetherall’s global network of groups to join and topics to explore, farmers and their families will also have access to an agricultural-specific group to share or read others’ stories in a safe, judgment-free zone. Farming is a tough and sometimes lonely profession, but when we can share and hear the experiences of those going through similar situations, we are reminded that we are never truly alone.
There are so many great things happening with Togetherall and I hope you will visit our Farm State of Mind site to learn more about all the services now available to farm families. You can also quickly create a profile and see for yourself.
As I like to remind us all, you do not need to go through hard times alone. Community is critical for us to thrive, and a healthy farm is nothing without a healthy you. Your Farm Bureau family and our partners across the agricultural community are there for you, and we want to continue to make sure that when it comes to taking care of your mental health, you have what you need, when you need it.