Farming can be a uniquely stressful situation, and many farmers don’t know where to turn when they are experiencing workplace, financial, or family stress.
Ontario is now offering a new service that caters to the unique concerns of farmers.
Read on for more information about Ontario’s Farmer Wellness Initiative, as well as for other farmer-centric mental health resources.
It’s never too soon or too late to ask for help.
Why is Farmer Mental Health Critical?
Farmers are typically under more stress than the general population. Resources specific to their situations and stressors are needed.
The Farmer Wellness Initiative:
The Farmer Wellness Initiative offers farmers across Ontario and members of their household will have access to free counselling sessions with a mental health professional. The mental health professionals have received training to understand the unique needs of Ontario farmers.
Accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in English and French, farmers can call 1-866-267-6255 to speak to a counsellor. This service is provided by LifeWorks.
The Farmer Wellness Initiative is supported by the Canadian Mental Health Association-Ontario Division, in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and aims to protect and enhance the mental well-being of farmers and their families.
This initiative is funded by the governments of Canada and Ontario, and through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
This program will provide valuable support for the agricultural community by giving farmers easy access to a comprehensive network of mental health counselling and crisis services. Together, we can break the silence.
Please visit www.farmerwellnessinitiative.ca to learn more.
Other Farmer Mental Health Initiatives:
In the Know:
“In the Know” is a mental health literacy program designed specifically for farmers, their families and those who are involved and/or support the agriculture sector.
Through this free, four-hour workshop, participants will cover the topics of stress, depression, anxiety, substance use and how to start a conversation around mental well-being. The workshops are facilitated by one of CMHA’s mental health professionals using ‘real-life’ examples from agriculture.
To learn more about this program, go to: In the Know (cmha.ca)
The Guardian Network:
The Guardian Network is a volunteer suicide prevention network which supports Ontario’s farming community.
A Guardian is an individual, over the age of 18, who is likely to be in contact with farmers through their work, volunteer activities, or their place in their community and has successfully completed The Guardian Network training program.
Guardians are equipped with strategies and tools to identify the signs of mental distress, react to farmers at-risk, and connect individuals with appropriate mental health and crisis resources.
If you are interested in becoming a Guardian, learn more at Home – Guardian Network