N.S. ag group launches mental health campaign

N.S. ag group launches mental health campaign
May 13, 2021

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We Talk, We Grow raises awareness and provides mental health resources for the farming community

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A Nova Scotia farm organization has launched a new mental health awareness campaign.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia’s We Talk, We Grow initiative is designed to provide access to mental health resources for members of the farming community and encourage conversations about mental health.

The website has links to training resources and digital and physical mental health kits.

Work on this campaign started last year when members of the province’s ag sector expressed the need for this kind of directory, said Katie Keddy, a fruit and vegetable grower and vice president of Farm Safety Nova Scotia.

“The topic of mental health in agriculture has been gaining traction the last couple of years,” she told Farms.com. “When the pandemic hit our province, we realized how important it was to get something going that supports our industry.”

Katie KeddySupporting the whole industry is an important piece of the puzzle.

Many mental health campaigns focus on farmers because they are the faces of the agriculture sector. But others in the industry need support too, Keddy said.

“You’ve got temporary foreign workers, researchers, salespeople and agronomists who hear the brunt of our stresses when they come onto our farms,” she said. “They’re part of our success and should have the same access to resources we as farmers do.”

Another part of the We Talk, We Grow campaign is designed to reduce stigma associated with mental health challenges.

It’s difficult to do because the stigma is rooted within the industry, Keddy said.

“I think it comes from tradition,” she said. “When you think about farming there’s always something that has to be done and you’re supposed to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get the job done. It does work and it does get you through. But if that’s the only thought that gets you through a rough patch it can become detrimental to yourself as a farmer and as an individual.”

Mental health campaigns are also important for tomorrow’s farmers.

Having these conversations now will help future producers be more open about mental health challenges, Keddy said.

“We want to normalize these conversations,” she said. “I’m raising two little boys and I hope when it’s their generation running the farm that when you talk about health it automatically includes mental health.”

Farms.com has also compiled lists of national and provincial mental health and suicide prevention resources, which can be found here.

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