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Mental Health and Well-Being

This group serves as a community of practice for Extension personnel and their community partners who share a commitment to improving mental health through a focus on social and emotional well-being. Members are encouraged to create blog posts, publicize upcoming events, share resources, and engage with other members on issues of common interest.
The purpose of this subgroup is to highlight non-clinical, prevention-based work being done in the allied areas of mental health and well-being, facilitate the sharing of resources, inform members of upcoming events, and explore ways that Extension professionals can collaborate more effectively. For the purposes of this group we define mental health and well-being as including loneliness, chronic anxiety, depression, mindfulness, suicide, dementia, substance use disorders, recovery, and youth mental health. We emphasize the role of social and emotional well-being in mental health.

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Blog Posts

How Extension Can Help to Bridge the Mental Health Professional Shortage Gap

I tend to closely monitor the statistics on the number of mental health providers per capital in each state, particularly the Midwest states. According to Mental Health America (Reinert, Fritze, & Nguyen, 2021) most of the Midwestern states tend to fall in the bottom half of this state-by-state ranking. This means the need for mental health care is rapidly overtaking the workforce’s ability to provide it. So how can Extension bridge this gap? To be honest there is little we can do to...

On Common Ground - Mental Health In Rural New Mexico

Agriculture can be filled with unique stresses, from fluctuating market prices to unpredictable weather events. As a result of these unique stressors, it's no surprise that agricultural communities have experienced increases in mental health challenges and suicide. Here to Help NM is an innovative initiative resulting from a collaborative partnership between the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau, New Mexico State University, and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to help farmers and...

Feeling Depleted? Refuel Ahead of the Holidays and Upcoming Stressors

The pandemic and its aftermath have brought about new and intensified stressors for many people. Coping strategies that have worked in the past might not be as effective in the current situation. Self-assessment and self-care are essential in times like these. Here are some steps you can take to address these challenges: Self-Assessment: Take time to reflect on your current state of well-being and baseline resilience. Ask yourself how you're feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Youth mental health and suicide

We may have heard of the following statistics. Worldwide, half of all mental illnesses begin before the age of 14 and three-quarters begin before young adults reach their mid-20s. In the United States, two of the most diagnosed mental health disorders are anxiety and depression. Suicide is the 2 nd leading cause of death among youth 10-24 years of age. This last one is most concerning. For decades, youth suicide ideation have been increasing and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The time...

Renew Hope and Offer Support During National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra describes the purpose of this month in the following statement: “National Recovery Month represents an opportunity to recognize the strength and resilience of individuals who have triumphed over addiction and mental health challenges. Mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) are often misunderstood, stigmatized, and overlooked, but at their heart are people in despair looking for an open door and...

September is National Suicide Prevention Month

(Note: Today I’ll be talking about suicide, which can be a really painful topic. I’ll be focusing on suicide prevention.) September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Prevention means doing something before the crisis happens. We’ve talked about all sorts of ways to manage stress and be SAFER ( S leep, be A ware of your stress levels, F ocus on positives and gratitude, E at well and drink water, R each out to talk to someone)—these are all ways to reduce the risk of emotional distress and...

Mentally Healthy Aging in America

September is Healthy Aging Month, the month recognized to promote ways people can stay physically, mentally, and socially healthy as they age. The National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging observed significant increases of mental health conditions in older people, disproportionately affected by loneliness, social isolation, and loss. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief, in 2020 approximately 25-30% of older adults (1 in 4) reported increased anxiety and depressive...

Identity- Based Trauma (Lockett;Siegel)

The author James Baldwin states that “an identity is questioned only when it is menaced, as when the mighty begin to fall, or when the wretched begin to rise, or when the stranger enters the gates, never, after that, to be a stranger: the stranger’s presence making you the stranger, less to the stranger than to yourself” (Baldwin, 1976 p.537). The quote by Baldwin emphasizes the importance for people to be cognizant and confident of their distinctiveness and the multiplicity of identities...

NACo Addresses Mental Health through Intergovernmental Partnerships

The National Association of Counties' Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing led discussions during the conference on best practices and intergovernmental partnerships that support the 988 Lifeline and crisis response, bolster the behavioral health workforce, and address exclusionary policies that often preclude effective behavioral health care options. • Why it matters: Effective behavioral health care systems reduce recidivism and other cyclical service utilization patterns, leading to...

Stress is not a Badge of Honor

( The original version of this post was written for farmers, on my blog Thriving on the Farm...but I think it can apply to just about any of us.) I was reading an article from University of Minnesota Extension on farm safety today ( ), and this phrase jumped out and hit me over the head. “There is no award for who suffers the most.” Ouch. How often do we brag about how long our workday is, or how little sleep...

Finding Appropriate Professional Help for Yourself or Others

Have you been wondering how you can obtain mental health services for yourself or others? A web search for the words “professional care for mental health”, though can yield a plethora of results making the world of mental health services particularly difficult to navigate. Here are a few tips, to get you on the road to finding the appropriate support you or your loved ones may need: Look up your local hospital’s website and search for doctors who specialize in Psychology and/or Psychiatry –...

Consider a socio-ecological approach to mental wellbeing

We often focus on the individual-level risk and protective factors that influence mental wellbeing, but wellness is affected by circumstances far beyond the individual. Consider a socio-ecological approach to mental health that includes a person’s family, workplace or school, housing and neighborhood, and larger society. This approach illuminates the many influences on a person’s health, all also points out all the ways we can intervene. In Extension, we all have a role to play. Review a...

Men's Mental Health Symposium: Listening Through the Silence

In general, men in the U.S. are expected to live nearly six years less than women . Men's Health Month is an opportunity to learn more about disparities in men’s health and about providing racial and ethnic minority boys and men with culturally and linguistically competent healthcare services. especially those with limited English proficiency. The US Department of Health and Human Services will host the inaugural Men's Mental Health Symposium: Listening through the Silence on Thursday, June...


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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat