NEW LONDON, Wis. — Two Wisconsin-based groups launched an effort to help women farmers with their mental health.

Rachel Bouressa runs a farm in Waupaca County, just outside of New London. She raises goats and beef cattle.

She said it can be hard handling all the responsibilities of running a farm on her own.

“You’ve got all these animals that you have no choice; they’re completely reliant on you to take care of them,” Bouressa said.

She joined an effort started by Wisconsin Women in Conservation and Farm Well Wisconsin.

The groups have virtual training sessions to give women farmers and landowners tools that will prepare them to help their colleagues handle the mental health impacts of managing land, livestock and crops.

“That’s really our goal is to get as many people as we can trained so that we can as communities become more resilient in taking care of ourselves and each other,” said Chris Frakes of Farm Well Wisconsin.

The sessions focus on “COMET” training. That stands for Changing Our Mental and Emotional Trajectory. The idea behind the initiative is to empower women to help others, and themselves, gain a healthy mindset when barreling toward a mental health crisis.

Frakes said she's been encouraged by the response so far.

“Really what’s happening is people are starting to realize it’s OK to talk about our mental health challenges and struggles just like we talk about physical health challenges and struggles,” she said.

Bouressa said there’s a lack of mental health resources in rural communities. She said that’s why she’s proud to be a part of this effort.

“Taking strength, your own experiences and the power of sharing that with others, to realize that while we all are different that we all have stress,” she said.

There are three more COMET training sessions scheduled. You can find more information and learn how to register here.