Farm and Rural Stress Hotline now accepting donations

Local News

The weather hasn’t been kind to farmers this year, we know that.

But they’ve also been facing a number of other factors affecting their industry and has put a lot of them under a tremendous amount of stress.

KELOLAND News has reported on Avera’s special hotline for farmers and ranchers to call to get help. But now there’s a way you can help too.

Massive amounts of rain this past spring caused widespread flooding in KELOLAND.

It was so wet for so long, many farmers couldn’t get their crops planted, causing them a lot of stress.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult time for farmers,” Thomas Otten Assistant Vice-President of Avera Behavioral Health said.

That’s why Avera established the Farmer’s Stress Hotline. They’ve been taking 12 to 15 calls a week since it was setup.

“Is it a huge number, you can decide for yourself, but for those 12 – 15 farmers who are calling it’s a really big thing,” Otten said.

The hotline is staffed with mental health professionals who are here to talk with farmers and ranchers who might be struggling mentally or even financially.

“I would say half of the calls we get are from farmers themselves and half our calls come from a loved one, a spouse or child who is very concerned about their mother or father,” Otten said.

Some of the callers may need more than just a talk.

“Obviously if you’ve been struggling some emotionally, financially, one of the things you don’t have is money,” Avera Ambassador Jim Woster said.

That’s why now Avera is accepting donations to help farmers or ranchers pay for any services that they may require.

“Whether it’s counseling, medication or perhaps even a day or two of impatient and you have a $10,000 deductible or maybe nothing at all, with the dollars that are raised or donated are going to apply that to those folks who flat out do not have the money,” Woster said.

They’d like to raise $500,000. If you’d like to donate or learn more about the hotline and the number to call, click here.

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