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Helping Children Through Mental Health Challenges in Rural Communities

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.

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Case Studies

I’m pleased because I don’t have to make a 4 ½-hour drive to get my infusion. It’s great that we can now have the therapy that I needed right here.


I’m very fortunate and so grateful for everything the center does for me. The wait is short and I’m in and out in no time. Without this local service, I couldn’t keep my job. I wouldn’t be able to take care of my family or enjoy my life.

CIS Rural Patient

They monitored me, they took care of me. The infection that was causing the pain began to go away. I can tell you now I’m able to stand on both legs. After the infusion therapy, I was able to resume the activity that I truly enjoy, playing the guitar and exploring the wonders of music.


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