Measure in 2018 Farm Bill provides mental health resources to farmers

Iowa Co., Wis (WMTV) - The 2018 Farm Bill covers several issues, ranging from legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp to funding the supplemental nutrition assistance program.

One piece, authored by Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, also addresses mental health resources for farmers.

In a release sent to the newsroom on Tuesday from Sen. Baldwin's office, Baldwin highlighted reforms to provide farmers with mental health resources encompassed in the final bill.

The farm bill, passed in early Dec., now sits on President Donald Trump's desk to sign.

The release outlines funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish helplines, provide suicide prevention training for farm advocates, create support groups and more.

The founder of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Iowa Co., Susan Springer-Judd, said this is something rural counties need.

"The money can be put towards non profit organizations like ours, it can be put toward training, workshops, different types of therapies for farmers; it's not just sit down therapies," said Springer-Judd.

She said suicide is higher in rural communities, as there are a lack of services and more isolation. She said the bill brings awareness of this.

“It would change the dynamic by getting people facilitators of the groups trained, and lots of different types of training, so they can be trained on how to help people open up," Springer-Judd said.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson released a statement on Dec. 11 that said he did not support the farm bill, but the statement did not address the piece about mental health resources.

NBC15 reached out to his office for comment and did not receive a response.