Wellness in Tough Times: Nebraska Extension

Natural disasters exacerbate the daily stress on farm families; this stress leads to mental health concerns, including higher rates of domestic violence and suicide. So, after the devastating flooding in 2019, Nebraska Extension recognized the importance of providing support to the agricultural community. Farmers, like life-long resident Galen Frenzen, are used to being tough and weathering the storms and unpredictability, though he admits it “helped to talk about [things] with guys up and down the river.” The goal of the Wellness in Tough Times initiative through Nebraska Extension is to provide additional support to improve wellness and reduce stress in rural Nebraskan communities. Through the Midwest Early Recovery Fund’s grant, they have been able to provide connections and resources for farmers across the state.

The work of Nebraska Extension — which includes the development of Community Readiness Assessment of Health and Quality of Life indicators, based on surveys on farm stress in crisis. This provides Nebraskan farmers access to culturally appropriate wellness resources. These surveys ask farm families about their anxiety, about how they cope and where they turn for help. Responses have guided the use of radio PSAs and interviews to guide individuals and families to resources. The project is also providing resource cards, videos and targeted community-level support partnerships.

The team has focused their relationship development and local community work in counties across Nebraska not included in the Federally Declared Individual Assistance Program. Because of the extreme need for disaster recovery in our 10-state region in 2019, these counties need the extra support that Nebraska Extension can provide.

The Midwest Early Recovery Fund is proud to support this work because it provides critical resources to areas and people in Nebraska at a time when support is needed to bolster the reduction of stress, anxiety and isolation by offering healthy coping strategies and hope.

Find out more about the Wellness and Tough Times project here.

Watch their videos here.

(Photo source: Nebraska Extension)