Finding mental health help in ag

Finding mental health help in ag
Oct 11, 2018

On #WorldMentalHealthDay, industry members showed support for one another

Staff Writer
Agriculture generated a lot of buzz on social media with Wednesday’s #WorldMentalHealthDay hashtag. 
The ag community took to Twitter to express their appreciation for World Mental Health Day. Individuals shared reminders that resources are available for anyone who is struggling and that they are not alone in their fight. 
Mental health awareness and support is of huge importance in the ag community, Kim Jo Bliss, a farmer from Rainy River district, told today.
“I think everyone is having a very challenging year this year,” she said. “The weather has been (so) extreme for so many.” 
While farming is a rewarding career, it also can be difficult, Bliss explained. 
“So much revolves around the weather which is totally uncontrollable … often, when you’re challenged, you feel like you’re the only one.”
Community members have increasingly turned to Twitter to share their mental health experiences with one another and Bliss has taken notice. 
“I think Twitter has been a really good platform for farmers. … When you’re having troubles on a farm, you always seem to feel like you’re not doing a good enough job and that you’re the only one that’s dealing with it. I personally had a miserable day yesterday, but sometimes you just have to sit down and realize that it’s not just you.”
Initiatives like the Do More Ag Foundation are a step in the right direction, she said. 
“The first step is learning to reach out and not being ashamed to reach out. … Sometimes, half the battle is talking to someone in a similar situation” as you.
While mental health support in the ag community has become more available over the past few years, Bliss says farmers need more options.  
“There are resources available, but I feel like a lot of the (organizations) are fairly understaffed, and it might be a challenge to get in to see somebody quickly.”
Recognizing the need for conversation about mental health in the industry is definite progress, Bliss added.
“Farmers are starting to recognize their challenges and talk about them, which is a big step in the right direction.”
Organizations such as the Do More Ag Foundation, the Grain Growers of Canada and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture also showed their support for industry members via Twitter.
shotbydave/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo
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