May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Show-Me Strong Farm Families

Breaking down barriers to mental health services for Missouri farmers and their families is a goal of University of Missouri Extension through the newly revised Show-Me Strong Farm Families website at

MU Extension works to fight startling statistics on mental health in Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mental Health Awareness Month, observed in May, is a good time to look at the startling statistics on suicide and mental health challenges in rural Missouri, says Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri health and safety specialist.Three statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are especially troubling, she says.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri faces the largest shortage of behavioral health care providers in the U.S. Each of Missouri’s 99 rural counties is a designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, with just 3.7% of the recommended supply filled, says University of Missouri Extension health and safety specialist Karen Funkenbusch.

MFA Foundation gift supports rural mental health resources

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri farmers and ranchers increasingly struggle with mental health challenges and access to resources. The state’s rural suicide rate is growing faster than in urban counties, increasing 78% between 2003 and 2017. With a four-year grant commitment from the MFA Foundation, University of Missouri Extension will have new avenues to support rural communities in need of mental health assistance.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

COLUMBIA, Mo. – During drought, plants and livestock suffer.So do farmers. Life in rural America can be rough, especially when weather-related events such as drought and flood put crops and livestock at risk.University of Missouri Extension agronomist Valerie Tate knows this all too well. Tate has lost some friends and neighbors to suicide, a topic that still breaks her heart.

Suicide prevention in the workplace

In the United States alone, suicide accounts for nearly 40,000 lost lives per year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That's an average of one suicide every 13 minutes. The truth is that anyone can be at risk. Sometimes you NEED help. Sometimes you ARE the help.