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FarmFirst seeking Farmer Peers for new mental health program

FarmFirst seeking Farmer Peers for new mental health program
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FarmFirst is expanding access to mental health services for farmers in Vermont through their new Farmer Peer Network.Before the Peer Network can launch in early 2023, FarmFirst is seeking more volunteers to become farmer peers before their first round of training on Dec. 5.” We have definitely seen a significant increase in the number of farmers and their families who are reaching out for help,” said Karen Crowley, program manager at FarmFirst.The not-for-profit program works to provide farmers in Vermont with resources to help deal with the stress of the industry.”The stigma around mental health is really getting better around here and farmers are really starting to step up and talk about their mental health issues,” said Leanne Porter, training coordinator at FarmFirst.Those resources, Crowley said , are crucial for an industry filled with unpredictable factors.”These are important people in our communities, and we need to find ways to support them,” said Crowley.That is exactly why Fa rmFirst is seeking more volunteers and are offering around $500 stipend for anyone that completes each of the three peer trainings offered. Each volunteer is a farmer who is willing to learn more about mental health and willing to share their on the job experiences when other farmers call them. Each training is anticipated to last between an hour and an hour and a half, meeting at 6 pm on Dec. 5, Dec. 19 and Jan. 9.”We train peers in active listening, de-escalation, all of the resources available, things like that,” said Porter. FarmFirst currently has around 18 peers in the training process, said Porter, adding that she hopes to see 25 by January.”It will expand our capacity to be able to respond to farmers because the needs keep going up, and going up, and going up,” agreed Crowley.Information to register as a Farmer Peer or contact FarmFirst can be found here.

FarmFirst is expanding access to mental health services for farmers in Vermont through their new Farmer Peer Network.

Before the Peer Network can launch in early 2023, FarmFirst is seeking more volunteers to become farmer peers before their first round of training on Dec. 5.

“We have definitely seen a significant increase in the number of farmers and their families who are reaching out for help,” said Karen Crowley, program manager at FarmFirst.

The not-for-profit program works to provide farmers in Vermont with resources to help deal with the stress of the industry.

“The stigma around mental health is really getting better around here and farmers are really starting to step up and talk about their mental health issues,” said Leanne Porter, training coordinator at FarmFirst.

Those resources, Crowley said, are crucial for an industry filled with unpredictable factors.

“These are important people in our communities, and we need to find ways to support them,” said Crowley.

That is exactly why FarmFirst is seeking more volunteers and are offering around $500 stipend for anyone that completes each of the three peer trainings offered.

Each volunteer is a farmer who is willing to learn more about mental health and willing to share their on the job experiences when other farmers call them.

Each training is anticipated to last between an hour and an hour and a half, meeting at 6 pm on Dec. 5, Dec. 19 and Jan. 9.

“We train peers in active listening, de-escalation, all of the resources available, things like that,” said Porter.

FarmFirst currently has around 18 peers in the training process, said Porter, adding that she hopes to see 25 by January.

“It will expand our capacity to be able to respond to farmers because the needs keep going up, and going up, and going up,” agreed Crowley.

Information to register as a Farmer Peer or contact FarmFirst can be found here.

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