The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing over $8 million to support the mental wellness of farmers and their families.
This investment will ensure that key programs continue to be available to Ontario growers through December 31, 2024.
To learn more about the resources available, keep reading.
Available Mental Health Resources for Farmers:
What does each program offer?
- The 24/7 Farmer Wellness Initiative phone line provides farmers with free, professional mental health counselling services. Reachable at 1-866-267-6255, it first went live on January 1, 2022.
- The Guardian Network is made up of trained, adult volunteers who are likely to be in contact with farmers through their work, volunteer activities, or place in their community. CMHA Ontario trains and supports Guardians by equipping them with the strategies and tools needed to identify when someone is struggling with their mental health and direct them towards appropriate resources.
- In the Know is a mental health literacy program designed specifically for farmers, their families, and those who are involved in and/or support the agricultural sector. Participants cover topics such as stress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and learn how to start a conversation about mental well-being during this three-hour, free workshop.
The governments are also funding a new initiative called the Sowing the Seeds of Wellness Initiative to amplify awareness of the free mental health programming. Through the initiative, promotional materials and opportunities will be available to eligible commodity and farm organizations that many producers are affiliated with. More details about the promotional initiative and its application process will soon be available online.
More details about the programs can be found online at: https://agriculturewellnessontario.ca/
Additional Mental Health Resources:
We want to help farmers and the farm community address the stigma that still surrounds mental health and encourage them to ask for help when they need it. Other available resources include:
- Online Mental Health for Farmers – First Aid Kit with information and resources for farmers and farm families who are struggling and need immediate help or are looking for stress mitigation strategies.
- Ontario 211— a telephone health line and website that provides information and mental health supports, and directs people towards distress centres across the province. You can also text them!
- OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre provides information about programs and contacts for a variety of services. We encourage farmers to use this resource if they need it. OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre can help producers and agri-businesses get information on financial support, best management practices for planting and crop management, and connect with qualified mental health professionals available in local communities.