Farming is a stressful occupation at any time. However, recent world events have created significant pressures on farming operations and those who support them. While mental health has come a long way in recognition and over coming stigma, many still try to “go it alone”!
While most of us are not trained in mental health, we 1. are farmers or have close contact with farmers allowing us to notice changes in people and 2. understand the uniquness of stress in agriculture. So this article equips us with some resources that we can direct people or ourselves too should the situation arise.
So specific to agriculture please see the following resources and dont hesitate to direct people to them should the need arise to support ourselves, family, friends, customers, employees and others to supports.
Mental Health Support for Farmers and Ag Community.
In The Know https://ontario.cmha.ca/ is a mental health literacy program for farmers and the agricultural community. This may include, but is not limited to, family members, peers and allies in the agricultural industry such as veterinarians, breeders, seed or feed salespeople, financial institutions, accountants or community members who have direct contact with farm owners/operators. The program is offered through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). For more information about In the Know program, get in touch with your local branch, or contact Lindsay Bebbington at email@example.com or call Toll Free: 1-800-875-6213.
For more background: In the Know is a mental health literacy program developed at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph) created specifically to educate the agricultural community, supported by OMAFRA, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and several CMHA branches in rural and agricultural communities. In the Know is a four-hour mental health literacy workshop is designed to fit with farmers/producers limited availability owing to rigid daily schedules, distilling critical information and incorporating agricultural community culture. The workshop was developed in collaboration with stakeholder groups, including various agricultural sectors, mental health literacy trainers, government and representatives from social work, psychology, epidemiology, and education.
Farm Financial Assessment to Support Farmers
Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Ontario producers who are experiencing financial difficulty may qualify to access advisory services to complete a Farm Financial Assessment at no cost. They can speak to staff about accessing an advisor if they are in financial difficulty. They don’t have to apply, but there is funding available to cover the cost of the advisor. To access this, producers can contact OMAFRAs Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC) Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300 | TTY: 1-855-696-2811 or E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . The AICC will take name and contact and we will send to appropriate staff to contact them directly.
On-Line Mental Health First Aid Kit
The online mental health first aid kit, and funding mental health training for frontline staff of farm and commodity organizations, Ontario is helping farmers, farm families and farm workers access resources when facing tough times.
ConnexOntario provides service information for people experiencing problems with mental health, gambling, drugs or alcohol. Helpful, supportive system navigation specialists answer all calls (1-866-531-2600), email or web chat requests 24/7, the service is free and confidential. They offer:
- contact information for mental health and addictions services or supports that meet the caller’s specific needs
- listen, offer support and provide strategies to help people meet their goals
- provide basic education about gambling, drugs, alcohol, or mental health problems