Farm family mental well-being services revolutionized
Posted on Feb 02, 2024 at 16:51 PM
A landmark alliance is launching free, anonymous, online mental health and well-being services to provide a nationwide safety net of confidential and on-demand support to farmers, ranchers and farm families.
The Farm Family Wellness Alliance’s groundbreaking solution was unveiled at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2024 Convention. The program harnesses the best resources to build farm family wellness—access to a community, including a network of farmers and ranchers who understand the challenges and rewards that come with the agricultural way of life.
Access to services starts at Togetherall, a safe, clinically moderated peer-to-peer community, where members around the world are there to listen, support and give members’ mental wellbeing a boost. Through an anonymous profile, users can access a global network of peers, backed by the safeguarding of licensed clinicians overseeing the community around-the-clock. Access to the platform is available to members of a farm family aged 16 and older.
In addition to Togetherall’s global community, farmers and their families will have access to an agricultural sector sub-group to share or read others’ experiences in a safe, judgement-free zone.
“Farming is tough even on the best days. That’s why Farm Bureau has been committed to helping farmers and ranchers across the country get connected with the tools and resources they need to promote mental health and well-being—and to check in on their friends, neighbors and loved ones. Togetherall will help us all to do just that,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.” It’s OK not to be OK, but it’s not OK not to reach out when you’re hurting. We are grateful for how this partnership will strengthen our rural communities and provide the support we all need.”
The Farm Family Wellness Alliance is made possible through a coalition of organizations, including Farm Foundation, American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit, CoBank, Iowa Farm Bureau, CHS, Land O’Lakes, National Farmers Union, 4-H, FFA, Agriculture Future of America, Togetherall and Personal Assistance Services. This coalition makes it possible to offer services to farm families nationwide and deepens the impact of an earlier pilot initiative started in Iowa with the addition of the Togetherall peer-to-peer support platform.
“Farm Foundation has been working towards the goal of improving farmer access to mental health and other wellness services for several years, with the Farm Family Wellness Alliance pilot starting in 2020 after the derecho in Iowa,” said Shari Rogge-Fidler, president and CEO of Farm Foundation. “We are pleased to have been able to bring together this coalition of farmer-serving organizations into a partnership that allowed us to expand the program nationwide and will offer so much direct and immediate benefits to American farmers.”
Togetherall also offers a range of well-being tools, such as self-assessments and access to additional support services through a partnership with Personal Assistance Services. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, financial health, improving sleep and more.
“Navigating the challenges of farming can be tough, and other farmers are often the only other people who can understand the unique stressors of the industry. Anonymous, safe, online peer support is a critical component on the mental health support continuum, and especially important in reaching communities such as farmers, who may otherwise not reach out for support,” said Matthew McEvoy, CEO of Togetherall. “We are thrilled to partner with the Farm Family Wellness Alliance to offer Togetherall’s online, clinically moderated, peer support community to all farmers and their families across the US.”
The landmark alliance bringing Togetherall and Personal Assistance Services to farm families represents a broad swath of agricultural organizations, illustrating the far-reaching impacts of mental health and well-being in rural America.
“Farm Credit recognizes the challenges America’s farmers and ranchers face, especially related to mental health and stress. Fewer resources exist in rural areas as compared to urban areas,” said Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of Farm Credit Council. “This free, anonymous, and safe access to mental health support offers assistance in a way nothing has before for rural Americans. We appreciate Farm Foundation’s leadership in bringing this resource to fruition.”
To learn more about the Farm Family Wellness Alliance and the services available through the Togetherall platform, visit www.farmfoundation.org/farm-family-wellness-alliance/.