Things have been a little quiet, but that’s probably going to change.
Jes Beauchamp is the telecounselor for the Wisconsin Farm Center’s Wisconsin Farmer Wellness counseling services. She also has her own counseling business, called Off the Couch Wellness.
The new offering is a part of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Beauchamp, a Michigan native, says that she’s been happy with the farmer conversations she’s already had. In a conversation with Pam Jahnke, Beauchamp says she just wants farmers and their families to know that the service is confidential, free, and able to adjust to your schedule.
“Most of the farmers I’ve talked to say they’re just happy they don’t have to change clothes, and come into town for the assistance,” Beauchamp says. The Farmer Wellness Program is just the latest effort by the state to provide some form of remote support for farmers as well as their supporting service sectors like veterinarians.
“The 24/7 Farmer Counseling Hotline is available around the clock as a welcoming ear for farmers who need to talk through a challenging time in their life,” said Farm Center Director Jayne Krull. “We hope that this initial pilot program will help us better understand whether a 24/7 hotline and tele-counseling are viable tools for our farmers with mental health needs.”
This pilot program is made possible by funding that was provided in Governor Tony Evers’ 2019-2021 biennial budget and approved by the state legislature. The 24/7 hotline and tele-counseling services are two of several initiatives developed by the Farm Center in response to increased challenges faced by the agricultural industry.
The hotline can be reached at 1-888-901-2558. Licensed mental health professionals contracted by the department will provide immediate, in-the-moment care.
In addition to the 24/7 hotline, long-term options are available:
Callers can schedule ongoing tele-health counseling sessions from a contracted licensed counselor based in Wisconsin, with referrals made through the 24/7 hotline or through the Wisconsin Farm Center (1-800-942-2474);
Persons who prefer an in-person session can request to meet with a local provider through the Farm Center’s longstanding Counseling Voucher Program.