Ottawa and Ontario are investing more than $ 7 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to launch two new multi-year mental health initiatives specialized to support people in the agricultural sector.
The Guardians Network, and a new program modeled on the success of the Farmer Wellness Program developed by mental health specialist Deborah Vanberkel, will help protect Ontario’s progress in the fight against COVID-19 by providing families with farmers in the province free advisory services as well as connecting farmers at risk with the right support and resources.
These initiatives are expected to launch early next year and will be developed in consultation with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and other experts. of the mental health sector.
“The farming community has shown great strength and resilience throughout the pandemic, but mental health issues often go unnoticed. If you are having difficulty, the first step is to reach out, because you are not alone in facing these challenges, ”said the Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agriculture. Food industry. “These new agricultural mental health programs increase the availability of resources to help Ontario farmers and workers if they are struggling with mental health.
“I understand and appreciate how stressful running a farm can be, working 365 days a year and dealing with unpredictable weather conditions, rising commodity prices and rising production costs,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Add the pandemic, and these pressures are having a real effect on the mental health of farmers and their families. That is why our government is providing the necessary funding for these programs and is committed to doing everything possible to help meet these challenges and support mental health in our farming communities.
As part of the Ontario government’s commitment to invest $ 3.8 billion over 10 years to build a modern, connected mental health and addictions system that serves all Ontarians, the two new initiatives improve the agricultural sector‘s access to supports that better meet their needs.
Earlier this year, Thompson also announced $ 385,000 to expand the In the Know mental health literacy program to help reduce some of the stigma surrounding mental health, encourage more open discussion and help connect the farming community to the resources and support they need.
Ontario farmers can also access Mental Health for Farmers – Online First Aid Kit.