The PROMISE Initiative
The PROMISE Initiative, PReventing Opioid Misuse In the South East, seeks to fight the growing opioid epidemic using a multi-phased approach to prevent prescription opioid misuse in rural Mississippi. 443 Mississippians died from an opioid-related overdose in 2020, a 124.9% increase since 2019 (MPDH, 2020). With Mississippi and the United States facing the worst increase in opioid-related deaths in recent years, the team of Extension professionals working on the PROMISE Initiative focuses on understanding all possible risk factors associated with substance misuse, mental health, and farm stress.
Topics addressed by PROMISE:
The PROMISE Initiative works to build resiliency-based extension programming in rural communities through:
- Increasing community engagement, assessing the region’s perceived needs and readiness for education about opioid misuse, and implementing tailored programs to meet those needs
- Using hands-on extension education to build community capacity for understanding the opioid crisis.
- Developing and implementing media campaigns to encourage proper opioid use and disposal
- Identifying placement of prescription drug take-back boxes throughout the state
- Conducting Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
- Combating farm stress in agriculturally engaged populations, identified as a common risk factor for mental health
This project is supported by Rural Health and Safety Education Grant No. 2020-46100-32841 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Rural Opioids Technical Assistance (ROTA) Grant No. 5H79TI083275-02 from the DHHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the MS Governor’s Education Emergency Response Funds 2020, and USDA NIFA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – State Department of Agriculture Grant No. 2021-70035-35566 from Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Edward Jenkins manages his family’s small farm in Grace, Mississippi. It’s property that has been in his family since the 1940s.
Like other farms, Jenkins’ family-run operation is a delicate balancing act of making the right decisions and dealing with issues that are beyond a farmer’s control, including weather and markets. It’s a high-pressure business.
Life can be overwhelming sometimes, and stress is a normal part of life. Too much unchecked stress can lead to physical and mental health challenges that must be addressed. Know the signs to watch for and learn what to do when you or someone you know needs help.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- After natural disasters, food and shelter are prioritized well above mental health, but ignoring emotional distress can lead to serious physical health conditions.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi State University Extension Service mental health campaign continues to receive national recognition, this time from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- The rollout of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers more hope to individuals dealing with mental-health-related distress. That population includes farmers and farm workers, who are among those most at risk for suicide and mental health distress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male agricultural workers have the fourth highest suicide rate among men in all industries.
When Kathryn Reed saw that young people in her community needed more opportunities to participate in activities to help them grow spiritually and personally, she took action.
“We have a lot of activities for adults in our community, but there was nothing for our pre-teens and teenagers,” explains Kathryn. “We are losing them when they get to that age.”
Extension destigmatizes mental health issues, one conversation at a time
When Colby Hardin first started working at the Arkansas Department of Corrections dairy farm, he prepared as if going to war.
In this "What's New in Extension," Extension agents implement better safety standards, train to deliver Mental Health First Aid, and receive national recognition. Also, new irrigation and specialists join the Extension family.