During the month of May, staff members from Missouri AgrAbility, the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, rural & urban agriculture stakeholders, and behavioral/mental partners promoted a successful Mental Health Awareness Month statewide campaign. Collaboratively, they developed the 2023 Mental Health Awareness Month Promotional Toolkit, posted daily on https://www.facebook.com/ShowMeStrongFarmFamilies/, disseminated five press releases, provided two Mental Health First Aid classes, three QPR sessions, and three Weathering the Storm in Agriculture: How to Cultivate a Productive Mindset programs, and participated with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Columbia MO, Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, and Children's Grove to hold a ceremony that highlights Children's Mental Health Week.
4-H conducted one new Save Your Brain Volunteer training and four new Save Your Brain Teen Ambassador trainings. The University of Missouri Extension (MUE) created the Save Your Brain curriculum (https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/lg820) in a joint effort with the BIA-MO and the Missouri AgrAbility Project (MAP) with grant funding provided by the USDA NIFA to promote prevention of brain injuries in rural, agricultural communities. The Save Your Brain curriculum provides a teachers' facilitator guide and other resources to teach general awareness of traumatic brain injury and ways students can protect themselves from TBI.
Save Your Brain Ambassadors championed a fund-raising campaign and received a grant from FCS Financial to make a local, youth building accessible to rural individuals with disabilities. The project has currently raised over $1,000; construction of a ramp and installation of assistive devices is underway. Additionally, a local, rural-based church that collaborates with 4-H has begun working to create a low-sensory space for youth and individuals with disabilities within the church. These efforts came about because of the 4-H Save Your Brain Ambassadors who have been working to educate other youth and the public on health, safety, wellness, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities.
Submitted by Emily Doosing, Willard Downs, Joni Harper, and Karen Funkenbusch