Brain Science Programs

Here is a Sampling of Available Programs and Resources from UW-Extension on the Science of Stress

Breaking the Chronic Farm Stress Cycle

Contact Extension if you are interested in a comprehensive workshop focusing on the science of how stress affects the brain and how positive wellness practices can break the stress cycle.  We discuss both acute and chronic stress; the impacts of chronic stress on health and decision making; and 7-10 positive steps and techniques that can be used to break the chronic stress cycle, including planning activities, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, etc.  

Contact:  John Shutske, Agricultural Safety & Health Specialist,

Taking Care of You

Taking Care of You is a multi-session program offering practical strategies and experiences to help you deal with the stress in your life. Managing life’s challenges in a healthy way allows you to take better care of yourself and your overall health. You will explore topics through small group discussion, self-reflections and activities.  Program activities are aimed at increasing mindfulness, positive emotions, optimism, resiliency to stress, coping skills, and self-care of one’s mind, body, and spirit.

Contact: Lori Zierl, Pierce County UW Extension,

Supporting Farmers During Challenging Times

Extension educators can offer a presentation for agribusiness professionals and agency staff to help them better support farmers in challenging times.

Contact: Tina Kohlman, Fond du Lac County UW Extension,

Mental Health First Aid

You can attend a full-day (8-hour) workshop led by trained Mental Health First Aid instructors. Participants learn to identify, understand and respond to signs of common conditions that manifest during times of high farm stress (depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicide risk). The training provides skills to help community members reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be experiencing a crisis.

Contact: Contact your local Extension office or the Mental Health First Aid course directory to locate a workshop near you.

QPR – Question, Persuade, Respond

You can attend a training (in person or on-line) that can equip you to help someone in crisis using the framework “Question-Persuade-Refer.”  Topics include:  How to Question, Persuade and Refer someone who may be suicidal; How to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide; The common causes of suicidal behavior; The warning signs of suicide; and How to get help for someone in crisis.

A farmer version is available. 

Contact: John Shutske, or Melissa Kono,, or contact QPR directly at (888) 726-7926 to locate a qualified instructor near you.