A state advocacy group is hosting a discussion of the need for establishing a National Center for Rural/Agricultural Behavioral Health today and tomorrow (Thursday-Friday) in suburban Des Moines. Adam Noyce, a spokesman for the State Public Policy Group, says four national experts will lead the discussion. He says they’re going to try and raise awareness about the severe underemphasis on rural and agricultural health. He says the national experts will discuss the issue, and try to put together a strategy for dealing with it. Noyce says it’s a problem that’s been growing.He says there are about half the number of marriage and family therapists and substance abuse physiologists in rural areas as there are in urban areas. He says that results in greater rates of depression and suicide as well as substance abuse. Noyce says there’s another factor involved. He says a lot of small farms are in severe economic stress — causing them to fold. He says that also increases the rates of suicide and depression. The meeting is at Living History Farms today from one to 4-30 p.m., and nine to two p.m. Friday..
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