Human Development

Matter of Balance Class to begin September 26, 2019

 by Kyleigh Sullivan, Human Development & Family Science Specialist

A Matter of Balance is a class that can help reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falling.  During the 8 week class participants will learn how to view falls and fears of falling as controllable, set realistic goals for increasing activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors and promote exercise to increase strength and balance.  To register for this class contact the Cass County Extension Office at 816-380-8460 or email us at 








May is Mental Health Month

by Kyliegh Sullivan Human Development & Family Science Specialist & the U.S. Ag Safety and Health Center 

In 2019, American farmers and their families are facing tough challenges – economic uncertainties of tariffs, drops in commodity prices, and spring weather challenges have added to the normal stresses of farming.  Barriers to getting help may be equally challenging. Where can farmers go for support to deal with these stressful times?  

Professionals dedicated to agricultural safety and health promotion from across the country have banded together to pool resources and share tools with farmers and those working to support farmer mental health.  Eleven federally-funded Agricultural Safety and Health Centers have compiled resources and identified experts to talk about understanding mental health resources available to farmers.  Throughout May, these centers will join the national Mental Health Awareness campaign to provide resources designed to be useful to farming and rural communities in which they live.

“With increased pressures on today’s farmers, we want to let farmers know there are ways to fight stigma and provide a safe environment to address mental health concerns of farmers,” says Kyleigh Sullivan the Human Development & Family Science Specialist for the Cass County University of Missouri Extension Center.  “We want to help our rural communities develop and maintain a support system for our farmers.”  Since 1948, May has been used to observe Mental Health Awareness.  This year, the Ag Centers are bringing the “Break the Stigma” campaign to our rural and agricultural communities, providing resources and tools specific to the concerns of our farmers. 

The campaign begins April 29, 2019 and runs through May 26. Topics include:

Week 1: Science of Stress and Suicide Risk 

Week 2: Referral Resources

Week 3. Coping with Substance Abuse/Opioids

Week 4: Cultivating Resiliency

Week 5: Break the Stigma

We will be posting new resources every week during the month of May. Follow us on Facebook to get the video resources.  University of Missouri Cass County Extension Facebook page. 


Showing Your Partner Love isn’t Breaking the Bank… it’s Saving for a Rainy Day

Kyleigh Sullivan, Field Specialist in Human Development & Family Science, University of Missouri Extension


Valentine’s Day is over and plenty of people never batted an eye, they feel it’s commercialized.  This may be true; however, have you ever considered that the money (and time) you may be spending is actually an investment in your relationship? 

Dr. John Gottman uses a bank account analogy called the “Emotional Bank Account” this wonderful and quick video explains the concept well.  But basically it’s the idea that your relationship has to have a stock pile of positives (deposits) for when conflicts arise or feelings get hurt (withdrawals) come        along so you don’t overdraft.  However, emotional bank accounts aren’t as equal as bank accounts.  If I spend $20, $20 comes out of my checking account.  If I deposit a $100, I add $100 to my checking account.  But, if my feelings get hurt in one instance it actually takes multiple good instances in the relationship to balance it out.  In fact, Dr. Gottman has determined that the “Magic Ratio” is 5:1.  So essentially our relationships shouldn’t be going bad half the time and well the other half.  There should be 5 times as many good instances in the relationship!

So even though Valentine’s is over, today and every day, is an opportunity to make a deposit into your relationship bank account.  It doesn’t have to cost you a lot- if any- actual money.  Make dinner for your partner, buy their favorite candy (even if the heart shaped boxes are gone for the year), watch a romantic movie on Netflix and cuddle up close on the couch.  Build up the bank account so when the inevitable rainy days (as in negative not boring) come along you have enough to pay your debt and you can go right back to building your relationship wealth.  

Image result for dr. john gottman Dr. John Gottman.