About Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI)
The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development (CRHSSD) is leading the effort to build a network of support and resources for Illinois farm families. The purpose of the initiative is to provide a range of resources including a helpline to assist with farmer and farm-related issues that include mental and physical health needs. Additionally, the initiative offers ongoing outreach, education and training to rural clients and partners working to improve the health and safety of farm families.
Financial support for FFRI is provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Division of Mental Health and the Illinois Department of Agriculture in cooperation with USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
What is the Farm Family Resource Initiative helpline?
The Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI) Helpline is available at no cost to Illinois farm families. It is a confidential crisis and support line that you can call or text or email 24/7. Phone calls have interpretation available. The Helpline is answered by trained professionals who can offer support and help you find mental health and agriculture-related resources in your area. Agriculture needs are unique – that is why our crisis specialists have received training on the factors that impact people working in agriculture.
How is the FFRI Helpline different than 988?
Both the FFRI Helpline and 988 offer the same quality of suicide crisis services – but our crisis professionals have extra training to know the culture, values, stressors, and lived experiences of farm families.
Why do farm families need their own helpline?
Good mental health is good physical health. Social isolation, weather variability (such as extreme droughts or flash floods), limited access to health services, and fluctuating commodity prices have a direct impact on the mental health of farm families and farm workers. Stigma and privacy concerns associated with mental health may mean that many people do not seek out available behavioral health services. Knowing that the professionals who answer the FFRI Helpline understand the unique stressors and situations of agriculture can lower some of those barriers and might encourage farm families to reach out.
What happens when you call the FFRI Helpline?
When you call, text, or email the line, you will be connected with a professional who is ready to listen, provide emotional support, and provide you with resources. You are also offered up to 6 individual, couple, or group counseling telehealth sessions with a School of Medicine counselor at no charge.
Who can call the FFRI helpline?
Any Illinois farm family member, worker, or Ag industry person can call the Helpline. We will not turn any callers away.
Media inquiries and questions:
Members of the media with questions about the FFRI Helpline are encouraged to reach out to Karen Levitt Stallman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A double alumna of SIU Carbondale, Karen Stallman earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science in Agriculture Education with a minor in Animal Science.
She worked 20 years with University of Illinois Extension in Randolph County, including a decade as unit leader and earlier as youth development extension adviser. Stallman then served as the Director of the Sustainability Initiative and Vice Provost of the Red Bud Campus at Southwestern Illinois College for 9 years. Stallman served as Director of Continuing Education and Outreach Director at SIU Carbondale for 6 years.
Today Stallman is the Agriculture Resource Specialist for the Farm Family Resource Initiative managed by SIU School of Medicine's Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development. She and her husband farm in Randolph County where they raise corn, soybeans, wheat, and beef cattle.
Community Health Worker
Lynn Weis comes with 30 years of experience in education, agriculture and community development. After earning her B.S degree in Agricultural Education from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, she worked in the private agriculture sector. During her tenure with University of Illinois Extension served as 4-H/Youth Program Coordinator, Agriculture Adviser and County Director in southwestern Illinois.
Weis recently became a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor and completed the QPR Gatekeeper Training. Her Community Health Worker responsibilities include facilitating Youth Mental Health First Aid Training and offering informational presentations on the Farm Family Resource Initiative.
A native of rural Madison County, Lynn is involved in several community organizations. She and her husband enjoy exploring the US, building/refinishing furniture and golf.