DECATUR, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and Gov. JB Pritzker announced more funding for a grant program to increase access to mental health in agricultural communities Tuesday.

According to an Illinois news release, the announcement was made at the 2023 Farm Progress Show. The funding will go towards the Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI) which helps break down the stigma of accessing mental health services in agricultural communities.

The FFRI started as a pilot program covering six Illinois counties providing telehealth mental health access. After its success, it was expanded to cover the entire state.

The program provides funds for 20 $1,000 grants to Future Farmers of America chapters that implement initiatives that encourage access to mental health resources.

“As Governor, as a father, and as someone who has personally witnessed the mental health epidemic among family and friends, there is nothing more important than making sure every Illinoisan has access to the mental health services they need to lead happier and healthier lives,” Pritzker said. “Our greatest problems require our most creative solutions — and I am confident that this grant program will simultaneously break down barriers and open up doors for our state’s number one providers.”

In addition to the telehealth hotline, the FFRI also allows family members to access six free telehealth mental health sessions.