1st Annual Rushville Farm Camp

F.A.R.M C.A.M.P (Frontier Area Rural Mental-Health Camp And Mentorship Program)

A first annual FARM CAMP 2013 journal
by Catherine Jones-Hazledine, PhD.
Western Nebraska Behavioral Health

FARM CAMP is a new project, developed by Western Nebraska Behavioral Health, and funded in part by the BHECN Program (Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska).  It is intended to identify and mentor rural students who are interested in eventual careers in behavioral health or mental health. 

There was a one week FARM CAMP activity held in Rushville, NE this June, during which students were able to meet professionals from a variety of rural behavioral health careers and learn firsthand about these careers. They also took a class introducing them to aspects of psychology, mental health treatment, and ethics, for which they will receive college credit.  And, of course, there were fun activities for them to participate in during the off-hours. 

Once the camp concluded, students were assigned a mentor, who will keep in touch with them throughout the year, answer any questions they might have, and help hook them into the right education and career path. Six students from different rural communities in western Nebraska participated in the program, and evaluation results were very positive for our inaugural year.

This project is intended to help with the drastic shortage of mental and behavioral health providers in our most rural settings.  Currently 86 of 93 counties in the state of Nebraska are identified as shortage areas in these fields.  It is also hoped that it will help to provide career opportunities to young people in rural areas, which traditionally suffer from unemployment, poverty, and an exodus of youth (due to lack of opportunity).