A new “voucher” program in Iowa will help get needed counseling to rural families. Diane Patton’s a program coordinator with Ecumenical Ministries of Iowa. Farm family members can access mental-health services by using a voucher they get through Iowa’s Rural Concern Hotline, given out to help them with stress caused by changes in rural life. Patton says the first step is calling the Iowa Rural Concern Hotline.They’ll determine if a caller qualifies as a farm-family member without health insurance suffering problems a counselor could help, they’ll make out a voucher to pay the provider that client chooses. Patton says the program’s in the final stages of signing up providers right now. It may be economic, family relationships, a death, any issues that are causing stress to the participant. All information’s confidential in the program, and Patton explains the voucher is sent right to whichever mental-health care provider a client picks from the list, to pay for counseling. It’ll be an hours worth of counseling at a set rate of $75, and the client can get up to five vouchers. Substance abuse is not a problem covered by the program, but Patton says changes in the rural community can include a lot of other reasons one might be suffering stress. The federal Health and Human Services Office of Rural Health Policy is giving the money to agencies in seven states.
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