Wellness in Tough Times

Lessons Learned  Prior to the 2019 HHD stress and wellness needs assessment survey, we assumed more females would participate in the surveys than males. Instead, we discovered approximately half of the people taking the survey reported being males. We were surprised at the number of men who not only were willing to take the survey but also spent time openly talking with WTT team members about their challenges and the effects stress had on their mental well-being.  Each survey gives us another opportunity to obtain specific information about how people in rural areas want to receive information and educational resources to support their stress management and wellness. Experiences during the global pandemic may also influence survey responses. Community- Informed Research for Improving the Del ivery of Virtual Resources Promoting Wel lness and Stress Management By Soni Cochran In late 2020, the WTT team partnered with the Extension Foundation and a team of assessment specialists from Trust in Food (TIF). The collaborative team sought to gain insights that could help improve programmatic capacity for Nebraska Extension. The result of this effort supports the delivery of impactful events, programming, and outreach in a virtual learning environment (TIF, 2020).

The primary goals of the project were:

 gain insight into the audience’s information consumption trends

 assess community perspectives of wellness and awareness of available materials

 identify stigmas related to wellness

 conduct a needs assessment to improve the delivery of events, courses, and resources

The collaborative team developed a survey instrument that was sent to Farm Journal ’s email database of rural residents and agribusinesses in the WTT pilot locations. Those in the database voluntarily opt in to receive email notifications and information from Farm Journal . Using the HHD survey as a model for the types of questions asked, the TIF survey was designed to capture qualitative and quantitative data points that provide insights into the target audience’s needs and preferences related to consuming information related to wellness and stress (TIF, 2020). The release of the emailed survey was timed to coincide with when most harvest efforts would be wrapping up and following the Thanksgiving holiday. The Extension Foundation provided gift card incentives for those completing the survey. The TIF team compiled the results of the survey and provided insights, action steps, and recommendations. The final report was shared with the WTT team and the Extension Foundation.

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