"Seeking help is a mental health issue; not a mental illness issue."

Jun 25, 2020

Credit Whit Andrews via Flickr

There are plenty of reasons not to ask for help when the stress gets to be too much.

A tradition of self-reliance.  Money. Insurance (or lack thereof). Travel distance.  Maybe just a desire to keep your business to yourself.

But those reasons also account for a growing number of suicides in rural Minnesota.

A new program funded by the Miller Dwan Foundation, though originally geared to farmers, is expanding to miners and foresters and anyone else in the rural Northland as well.  It's free.  It's confidential.  It's a phone call away.

The program launched in March, just in time for the pandemic to turn lives - and livelihoods upside down.  Pretty much no one - or no industry - has escaped the new stressors it's brought and no one knows if - or when - it will end.  Rural Mental Health Care Program Coordinator Rich Tunell says asking for help isn't about being "mentally ill;" he says it's about taking care of your mental health.

And Tunell will not only "meet you where you're at" psychologically -- he'll meet you wherever you're most comfortable, whether that's a coffee shop, a farm field, or at your home.

Anyone interested in talking with Tunell can reach him at 218-730-6833 or by email at rtunell@lschch.org​.