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Community Contributed

Mason County 4-H members spread holiday cheer, important message

HAVANA, Ill. — 4-H members showed their thanks to area farmers in a big way during the holiday season.

Mason County 4-H Federation members partnered with the Mason County Farm Bureau on a holiday community service project. The 4-H members wanted to thank farmers and those in the agricultural industry workforce for all they do to help feed the world.

They also wanted to use the opportunity to share an important message from the Illinois Farm Bureau to help anyone struggling with daily stress, anxiety, depression, addiction or other mental health challenges.

The 4-H members handed out gifts to truck drivers and farmers who were hauling loads of grain to the Havana ADM facility. The snowman-themed, wrapped gifts consisted of candy and snacks along with a pair of gloves, which were donated by the Havana Farm & Home Store.

Attached to each wrapped package was a card from the Mason County Farm Bureau titled “Stronger Together.” Inside the card, the recipients found information on crisis signs and symptoms and resource information to seek in a time of mental or emotional health crisis.

According to Illinois Farm Bureau, one in five adults in the United States has a mental health disorder in any one year. Almost 15 million Americans suffer from depression.

Farmers are great at taking care of our land and livestock, but not always at taking care of themselves. The message from the Illinois Farm Bureau encourages farmers and their families to take time to put themselves first.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the U.S. Depression and anxiety are highly treatable with medication, therapy and lifestyle changes.

Over 60 grain trucks rolled through the ADM facility in a two-hour time span on Dec. 12. This busy grain contract time allowed the youth to reach a large number of farmers and drivers.

4-H members have a few additional dates planned to be out handing out these special gifts. If you would like more information or a few copies of the “Stronger Together” brochure, contact the Mason County Extension office at 309-543-3308, or the Mason County Farm Bureau at 309-543-4451.

Stronger Together

Crisis signs and symptoms as listed in the “Stronger Together” brochure are:

Decline in care of crops, animals and farm — for farmers.

Changes in sleeping and eating habits.

Poor concentration.

Excessive drinking.

Thoughts of suicide.

Constant fatigue.

Neglect of personal appearance.

Withdrawal from friends and family.

If you or someone you know is struggling with daily stress, anxiety, depression, addiction or other mental health challenges, you are not alone. Reach out and ask for help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK. Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7. Farm Aid Farmer Hotline is 1-800-FARM-AID.

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