When the Holidays Get Stressful, Call Iowa Concern

As attention turns toward a new year, stress and financial questions can arise

December 20, 2019, 9:43 am | Tammy Jacobs

AMES, Iowa – With fall harvest mostly done and the holidays upon us, Iowans can now sit back, relax and take it easy.

Well, sort of.

Farmers spent the past few months focused on one primary thing: wrapping up a historically late harvest. Now their focus will turn to family gatherings, gift-giving and making plans for 2020.

Young man with smartphone by Rymden/stock.adobe.com.Tammy Jacobs, hotlines coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, said December is typically a quiet month for calls made to Iowa Concern – the 24/7 hotline available to both farmers and non-farmers, rural and urban Iowans.

But in another month or two, Jacobs said the calls and the questions will likely increase.

“What we usually see is a trend in January and February, as we enter tax season,” Jacobs said. “People realize how much they overspent at Christmas, they’re preparing to meet with their lender and they’re making plans for the next growing season.”

Iowa Concern provides access to an attorney for legal education, stress counselors, and information and referral services for a wide variety of topics.

To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.

On the website, visitors can also find additional information and publications related to finance, stress, crisis and disaster, and legal referrals.

Jacobs said caller information is kept confidential, and the staff of Iowa Concern connects the caller with the kind of help and resources they need.

“Each call just kind of depends on what that person is looking to do, and the level of stress they are experiencing,” Jacobs said.

Iowa Concern receives about 15-30 agriculture-related phone calls per month, according to Jacobs. ISU Extension and Outreach has offered the hotline since 1985.

Jacobs is coordinator for Iowa Concern and all Human Sciences Extension and Outreach hotlines at Iowa State. She also suggests visiting Human Sciences Extension and Outreach’s “Finding Answers Now” website, for additional information and resources on dealing with stress.

Photo credit: Rymden/stock.adobe.com

Audio file available: For use in December 2019-January 2020

Transcript for :30 audio file. Narrator: When the holidays get stressful, call Iowa Concern for help, 24/7. It’s free and confidential. You can get emotional support or connect with financial or legal help. Talk to a person who cares. Call Iowa Concern at 800-447-1985. That’s Iowa Concern at 800-447-1985.

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