Outreach Proposal: Engaging Agricultural Educators in Kentucky As School Based Partners in Support of Agricultural Community Emotional Health & Well-being
Hallmarks of effective agricultural safety and health outreach include sustainable partnerships and networks that are community based and are robust, continually evolving and that develop a shared vision of how best to translate research to evidence-based practice. A key strategy in outreach involves identifying and educating new partners, who are influencers, and engaging them in developing activities that address relevant issues and concerns within their constituent communities. Currently farmer mental health and suicide prevention are prominent topics for the agricultural community in Kentucky. In the past year various grants, state funding and farm organizations have supported efforts to train community individuals in active intervention strategies such as QPR (Question/Persuade/Refer). One group that has not been targeted are in-service agricultural educators currently working in Kentucky’s rural communities. These teachers are typically life-long residents of the community and tend to have long careers in their districts. Agricultural educators emphasize community service and leadership and are therefore very critical to engage in efforts related to raising awareness on this difficult topic. This outreach proposal will feature several activities targeted toward Kentucky’s agricultural educators: 1) A full day workshop at the KY state ag teachers annual Summer Conference, 2) focus groups with a selection of teachers to gather information on developing messaging for FB, Social Media integration with their students and suggestions for greater reach, and 3) evaluating the effectiveness of these outreach efforts through a series of short, online surveys.