Rural lifestyle can play powerful role in healing kids who are hurting

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sharon Smith, APR 317.506.7982
For Ben’s Ranch Foundation,
Ben’s Ranch Foundation focuses on pairing troubled teens with ranch and farm families


Indianapolis, IN, May 9, 2017- Teens struggling with mental health conditions and their families often find few answers and too few options. Residential facilities can be expensive, intimidating and far from home. Clashes at school shatter nerves and self-confidence. The cycle that results can lead to broken families, substance abuse, the criminal justice system, hospitals or worse.

Ben’s Ranch Foundation is named in memory of a central Indiana boy who died in 2015 following a 10-year struggle with bipolar disorder. Ben was diagnosed at age 14 and sadly passed away from an accidental overdose at age 24. For 18 months of his life, Ben enjoyed lived and worked on a Wyoming ranch learning how to train Mustang colts. His experiences on the ranch greatly enhanced and prolonged his life, and would eventually form the basis of a new program being rolled out this year by the Foundation.

The Foundation will offer its first placement of teens this summer. But, 30 days from our deadline, we still need a few more individuals or families willing to help us make this dream possible, by demonstrating that our farm, ranch and agriculture families will step forward and make that empty guest room or seat in the pick-up truck available for a young person in need.

Host families provide room, board, supervision and a safe, nurturing environment in return for lots of hard work and help from a 15-18 year-old teen.  Their stay should ideally last for 8-10 weeks during summer school break, beginning around June 1st.  

Teen participants are carefully screened by a panel of experts, including mental health professionals, to maximize chances of a helpful, enjoyable and satisfying experience for both the teen and our host farm and ranch families.

“We’ve personally witnessed the impact that time in nature, with horses, livestock and the camaraderie of community that comes with agricultural life, can have on the lives of people of all ages,” said Natalie Allio, Badger Creek Ranch, Canon City, CO ( This is one of the many reason’s we’re hosting a teen this summer. We encourage other ranch and farm owners to consider the many benefits of being a host family as well.

Learn more about hosting a teen at

About Ben’s Ranch Foundation: Our mission is to help teens and their families with a new path forward that leverages the natural healing and calming influences of nature, livestock, outdoor chores, new relationships and disengagement from sources of stress and bad influences at home.

Our program will place young teens (who fit our criteria) on a farm or ranch with a volunteer host family for a summer or longer. There they will live and work as part of that family and experience a different way of life, far from the stress and the influences which so often prey on their weaknesses. For more information on Ben’s Ranch Foundation, visit, email or call 317.258.1007.

About National Mental Health Month/ National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week:

National Mental Health Month raises awareness about mental illness and related issues in the United States. In recent times, attitudes towards mental health issues appear to be changing. Negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental health have reduced and there has been growing acceptance towards mental health issues and support for people with them.

Despite this shift in attitude, the idea of a mental health awareness campaign is not a recent one. In the late 1940’s, the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in the United States.

During the 1960’s, this annual, weekly campaign was upgraded to a monthly one with May the designated month.

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness month, National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is observed May 7-13, 2017.

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