Helping Children Through Mental Health Challenges in Rural Communities
Between late planting, floods, and trade turmoil, many families in agriculture are operating under an extra layer of stress this year. But, addressing mental health in rural communities is more complicated than increasing resources.
While local 4-H groups are known for summer programming, educator Julie Kreikemeier works with hundreds of students year-round across Colfax and Cuming counties in eastern Nebraska, designing lessons and projects that draw on what students are learning in school.
And when floods ravaged homes in both areas this spring, she tried to make 4-H a space of stability for students and their families.
“It’s … very much just trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. What do they remember as a normal fair experience? What did they remember as a normal end of school year experience?”
And when their “new normal” became too glaring to ignore, creating a web of support was a group effort. Some days, parents volunteered to take home kids whose homes were flooded for playdates.