The free virtual training runs from January to March in Manitoba
Manitoba farmers and those working in the ag industry can now take virtual mental health literacy training through the Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).
This training program is called In The Know and researchers at the University of Guelph developed it, said Thea Green, program manager with KAP.
The Guelph team “did a lot of research to understand Canadian farmers’ mental health challenges and developed this program specifically for Canadian farmers, and people who work directly with Canadian farmers, to provide them with background information so that they have more confidence and more knowledge with recognizing and responding to mental health struggles in both themselves, and the people they love and work with,” Green told Farms.com.
The program was piloted in Ontario and Manitoba is the first province to start offering it outside the research realm, said Green.
KAP staff wanted to offer this training because they want to help farmers in the province be successful, sustainable and profitable.
“If farmers are struggling with their mental health, it's really hard to achieve success in those other areas,” said Green. “We would like to provide this training for 500 or more farmers and people who work directly with farmers to create an informed and caring network of people within the ag community that we can lean on for support and start to recognize and respond to any mental health struggles that they see.”
The 34 sessions run from Jan. 18 until March 31 and are free. KAP hired a mental health professional with lived farm experience to facilitate all the sessions, said Green.
“It’s very important that the person understands agriculture, the stresses that farmers face, and the entire industry and how it functions, so that they aren't suggesting things that work in other industries that aren't appropriate for agriculture, because agriculture is so unique,” she said.
The four-hour sessions have limited space, but the hope is to offer more of this type of training if the first round of sessions fill up, said Green.
“We're hoping that all 34 of our sessions are completely full, which really gives that indication that this is needed. Then we can look at how we could continue to support farmers’ mental health going forward,” she said.
Those interested in the training can register and find out more information here. This program funding is provided through KAP and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
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