The Development of this Series
In the summer of 2008, the Minnesota Sowing the Seeds of Hope Coalition met to discuss which services rural Minnesotans could use most. Their past work and research indicated that rural Minnesotans:
- Are strong individuals with the ability to think/act according to where they live.
- Have developed a lot of ways to deal with problems and thrive.
- Experience a lot of day-to-day and long-term stress in their lives.
- Are self-reliant and often reluctant to let anyone see them using social services.
The coalition determined that there is a need to offer rural Minnesotans information about stress, tailored specifically for their experiences in agriculture. They furthermore decided that this information would be best received via the internet, in a format that could be completed on a person's own time.
Partial funding of this project was secured through the Otto Bremer Foundation.
Dr. Katherine (Kay) M. Slama (Slama Consulting), a clinical psychologist and therapist who has worked with rural people in Minnesota and other states on behavioral health issues, was asked to develop content to be used for a web-based workshop series on stress. AgriWellness, Inc. and the Office of Rural Health & Primary Care (Minnesota Department of Health) in addition to staff from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development (Karen Shirer, Associate Dean, and Minnell Tralle, Extension Educator) were consulted during the development of the content.
In the summer of 2009, staff at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development were asked to aid in the development of the workshop series. They worked with Dr. Slama to turn the content into web-based workshops which would then be hosted on the University of Minnesota website. The first workshop became available August 2009.
Staff at Crisis Connection, a 24/7 crisis line for Minnesotans, were trained to assist participants with the workshops as needed. They are able to provide general information and resources on stress as well as answer basic technical questions related to the workshop software/functionality.