New app is helping farmers cope with mental health obstacles

WOODHULL, Illinois - OSF Healthcare is using a digital platform to help some farmers cope with mental health challenges.

It's called SilverCloud.

The app can actually be used by anybody who lives in an area served by OSF healthcare. It's free and uses modules and support sessions that can help patients cope with depression, anxiety, and stress.

As wet farm fields and unpredictable weather create unexpected challenges for farmers in our area, some farmers are downloading Silvercloud.

Farmer Drew DeSutter, of Woodhull, Illinois, said the app is changing the way he copes with stress.

"It's been a very trying year," said DeSutter, who is part of a multi-generational family farm business.

He said this year's weather has intensified stress.

"You want to get out there. You want to plant your crop. You want to take care of your livestock and when Mother Nature doesn't corporate, it can be very challenging," said DeSutter.

The challenges amount to mental health obstacles that farmers across the United States are dealing with every day.

"Unfortunately, most of us in the agriculture industry know someone who has experienced anxiety and depression or died from suicide," said DeSutter.

Desutter said finding access to mental health care can be challenging for farmers.

"You're in a rural community of 800 people, you don't have access to health care right there," he said. "You don't have to access to all the conveniences, so in order to seek out help you'd have to travel 30 minutes."

DeSutter also mentioned that many times, mental health help needs to be obtained during business hours. For farmers, he said it can be hard to escape the fields to make a doctors appointment.

The industry is also a "do it all on our own" industry, said DeSutter.

"I think maybe farmers, more so than other people, are maybe tentative to ask for help sometimes, said DeSutter.

As he moves through modules and support sessions at his own pace, Desutter said the app is making a difference at home as well.

"This is at night before you go to bed you can work on it, if you're sitting in the tractor and you have some down time," he said. "You come home and I think you're a better person."

A new app helping people find ways to make mental health a priority, where ever they might be located.

"We take care of our crops, we take care of our livestock, we should take care of our mental health as well. We should take care of ourselves," said DeSutter.

It's a new tool that is cultivating a healthy mindset.

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