Dr. Val Farmer
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Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Welcome To Valfarmer.com

October 4, 1999

I’ve been around for a while. I’ve grown old writing this column. I know because some of my readers, mature and well established in life, tell me they were shown my column when they were teenagers. One of the advantages of having started this column in 1984 is that I have a large collection of columns in my files. I’m in a good spot to be a "content" provider in the age on the worldwide web.

You do the math. I’ve done 52 columns a year for 15 years. Wait there’s more. Early on, in 1986 or so, I expanded my writing to both urban and rural audiences by writing 6 or 7 columns a month – 4 or 5 on general mental health topics. That adds 26 more columns a year for 13 years. Subtract two or three reprints during vacation weeks a year.

I am blessed to have a son-in-law, Darin Andersen, who has an embroidery business and is computer savvy enough to establish himself as a top provider of digitized embroidery designs via the Internet. You can visit Darin’s site at threadimages.com. He and my daughter, Trista, have helped me developed my own website, valfarmer.com.

From paper to paperless. Over the years I’ve managed to publish several books and booklets. I’ve offered these materials and other reprinted columns to people who wrote to the Preston Connection. People continue to ask about future books or booklets.

Instead of attempting to publish more books or booklets full of compilations of past columns, I’ve decided to post my writings on the Internet and those who are interested can compile their own book. So far we’ve posted my writings from 1994 to the present. We will be adding additional years from the 90s and selected "classic" columns from the 80s. The columns are indexed and can be accessed by key words.

We wanted to keep subscription prices low - $5 for a year’s subscription. Rather than implementing a costly automated credit card payment system, we have chosen to use an honor system. Readers are granted access to columns immediately and agree to send in the their subscription payment through the mail. This honor system will allow people to get the advice they need when they need it.

Why don’t I offer this service for free? This service is a way for people to gain access to material that might take years to surface in a bookstore. The money that valfarmer.com generates will help maintain, service and further develop the website so that my column will have a greater impact than it already has.

How can readers benefit from valfarmer.com? Throw away your scissors and files of yellowed columns. No need to dig through drawers or files for an old favorite you are missing. They’re on the website. With an archive subscription, you can access column reprints back to 1994. A reader service for accessing current columns - those published within the last three months - is also available.

A service we will be implementing soon will allow you to e-mail the columns of your choice directly from the site to your family and friends. E-advice. If you know someone who doesn’t have the Internet, you could print what he or she might appreciate and give it to him or her as a gift. If the column isn’t published in your local newspaper, you can subscribe to it throught the website.

I plan to add a special service for mental health professionals so they have the ability to access and print pertinent handouts to clients at the end of a therapy session. Columns will be pre-selected to target typical clinical problems. I’ve tried this and it works well. At the end of a session I pull up my website and print the columns I want the clients to have. Then I had the reprints to them on the way out. Clients are also directed to subscribe to the service and download particular titles. Future plans include providing "hot links" to other mental health and rural mental health sites.

With the farm economy in the tank, farmers may find it helpful to access pervious columns on coping with rural stress via valfarmer.com. I have a variety of past columns on family business relationships, farm marriages, life in rural communities, rural leadership, rural youth and rural development. Those who follow my rural column in agricultural papers may be interested in the huge volume of other writing I have done.

Why the World Wide Web? Why am I doing this?

I feel good about my writing. I want the audience to be larger. I want people to have convenient access to the timeless peices that I have written. I want to get information out to the people who need it. I want to help more people.

Welcome to www.valfarmer.com.