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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – #Rural #MentalHealth

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In northern Minnesota, “#rural” means more than just #farmers. A Duluth-based program to address #mentalhealth needs across the region is designed with #farmers and others in the #rural workforce in mind.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

The center’s Rural Mental Health Care Program launched in March when Rich Tunell of Superior, Wisconsin, was hired to lead it. An Air Force veteran with a master’s degree in clinical counseling, Tunell already has a miner among his clients, he said.

The free and confidential program makes Tunell available for #farmers, miners and loggers in northern Minnesota over the phone. But Tunell said he’s also eager to meet with people where they live and work to provide face-to-face counseling.

The program came about, Hills said, when leaders at the community health center became aware of the growing number of suicides in rural areas. The Minnesota Department of Health, for example, reviewed data from 2013-17 and found a higher #suicide rate in Greater Minnesota than in the seven-county metro area.

Hills’ research brought her to Ted Matthews, a psychologist who has been serving the #mentalhealth needs of #farmers in southern and central Minnesota for 20 years under a contract with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

“The reality is that members of the farming community have been woefully underserved in the past,” Traci Marciniak, the foundation’s president, wrote in an email. “So this is a wonderful opportunity to give them the care they need in a way that works for them.”

Tunell, 54, whose background includes project management, emerged as the right person to provide that care, Hills said.

Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

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