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Religion | IN BRIEF

Counseling Vouchers for Farmers Cut Back

March 08, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

LINCOLN, Neb. — High demand has prompted Nebraska's Interchurch Ministries to cut back on issuing vouchers to stressed-out farmers for a free session of mental-health counseling.

One hundred vouchers per month are available statewide through the first three months of the year. In the first three days of March, the total usedhad hit 50.

"This is the first time that the need has been so great that we've exceeded the resource at this level," said Marilyn Mecham, the organization's Lincoln-based executive. "We're seeing a lot of foreclosures and farm sales," Mecham said. "They're getting notice from the bank that there won't be any money available for them."

Nebraska has been in a drought that for some areas stretches back four years.

The voucher program provided $143,800 worth of mental-health services in 2002. That paid for 2,878 counseling sessions with more than 60 mental-health professionals across the state.

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