A free behavioral health sciences program that includes wellness coaching and counseling has been launched in 20 Iowa counties.

The program, available through options including phone, text, live chat, video or app, is offered by Farm Foundation, which describes itself as an accelerator of practical solutions for agriculture. Offering direct coaching and counseling from professionals at Professional Assistance Services, the new program is available at no cost to farm families in Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clarke, Clinton, Dallas, Greene, Hardin, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, Tama and Washington counties. Iowa in general and these counties specifically were chosen for the launch due to the impact of the August 2020 derecho on farms in those areas.

Farm Foundation said the program is unique for several reasons, including:

  • Whole-family, multi-generational support — PAS can help all members of a farm family, including parents, teens and younger children.
  • Prepaid, ongoing, direct one-on-one intervention — people who take advantage of the services can access free live counseling sessions with master’s-level professionals, as well as other support.
  • Newsletter signup for email alerts
  • Multi-platform, 24/7 access to services — phone support is available at all hours, and there are also apps and web-based resources available to provide access to resources anytime. Text, live chat and televideo options are also available, so participants can get help however and whenever is most convenient for them.
  • “Farmer health is one of the strategic priorities for our work, and being the conduit to bring these direct support services to farm families through collaboration aligns perfectly with our role as an accelerator of solutions,” Shari Rogge-Fidler, Farm Foundation president and CEO, said in a written statement.

    Farm Foundation is looking for additional partners to expand the program to farmers across Iowa and eventually nationwide, she said.

    The new service, which focus on one-on-one intervention, complements resources already available statewide through Iowa Concern, which has been offered by Iowa State University Extension.

    More information on the new service: https://www.farmfoundation.org/iowa-farm-family-wellness/ or 1-833-999-FARM (3276).

    Iowa Concern continues to be available to all Iowans by calling 1-800-447-1985.