More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. U.S. Representative Jim Costa (D-CA) says Congress cannot ignore the mental health crisis in America anymore.
Costa, along with Representatives Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Angie Craig (D-MN), Mike Bost (R-IL), and Zach Nunn (R-IA), introduced the bipartisan Farmers First Act, which would expand and improve behavioral health services in rural communities and connect those in times of crisis with trained medical professionals to receive the personalized care that they need.
“Rural farming communities have limited or no access to mental health services – making it difficult for farmers, farmworkers and their families to get the support they need,” Costa said in a release.
The bill is designed to expand vital, life-saving mental health services across rural America.
“Our farmers and producers are the backbone of our nation’s economy; and their job isn’t easy. It’s a stressful business where livelihoods can be impacted by outside – and sometimes uncontrollable – factors, like market conditions, financial pressures and the weather,” Bost said in a release. “It’s important that they have somewhere to turn in times of need. I’m proud to help lead this legislation to expand access to mental health services for our hardworking Americans in rural communities. They need to know they are not alone, and that help is available.”
The Farmers First Act would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and ensure rural communities have access to certified community behavioral health clinics, critical access hospitals and rural health centers.
“Farmers and farm workers are some of the toughest, hardest working people I know, but farming is a uniquely stressful job and we’ve got to get them the support they need,” Craig said. “I’m working across the aisle to ensure that farmers and rural Americans know that there are resources available to them to help deal with stress and mental health challenges.”