New ag mental health program in Ont.

New ag mental health program in Ont.
Feb 15, 2019

Lennox and Addington Federation of Agriculture launches L&A Farmer Wellness program

Staff Writer
Producers can benefit from a new mental health pilot project in Lennox and Addington County.
The Lennox and Addington Federation of Agriculture (LAFA) announced the L&A Farmer Wellness Program earlier this week, a LAFA release said Monday. The program will “provide accessible mental health counselling to meet the needs of farmers” in the county, the release said. 
Through the program, farmers can access assistance from a skilled and experienced mental health treatment counsellor. This individual can accommodate farmers’ schedules, offering evening and weekend services through in person, phone or video chat sessions, the release said.
The program is a first of its kind in Ontario, Resi Walt, Ontario Federation of Agriculture member service rep for the area, told today.
“It really puts the emphasis on providing service for a segment of our population that is currently under-serviced,” she said. 
“Farmers matter! We need farmers to be healthy, both of body and mind, so that they can continue to do the work that is so important to society. This program shows that a community and many organizations can come together and provide a much-needed service for farmers. 
“We hope to pave the way for services for farmers throughout the province,” she added.
Deborah Vanberkel, a dairy farmer near Napanee and owner of Cultivate Counselling Services, assisted in the creation of the pilot project program.
A University of Guelph survey demonstrates the need for mental health services tailored to members of the ag industry. For example, 58 per cent of respondents said they experience anxiety and 35 per cent “have signs of depression,” the release said.
In addition to the L&A Farmer Wellness program, other mental health services and resources for farmers are becoming more widely accessible. The Lambton Federation of Agriculture and the Lambton Farm Safety Association will host their mental health event, Opening the Conversational Doors to Mental Health, on Feb. 27 at the Wyoming Legion in Wyoming, Ont. More information about this event can be found here
To access the L&H Farmer Wellness service, or for more information, call 613- 985-7233 or visit
Updated Feb. 15, 2019
Jevtic/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo
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