Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman.

Mental health in agriculture

The province is launching a $3.8 billion mental health and addictions strategy over the next 10 years and there is an agriculture component to it.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs already supports a number of programs to help farmers, including research to evaluate mental health needs for farmers and farm business risk management programs to cover loss and damage.

Minister Ernie Hardeman was in Guelph Monday and launched a public awareness campaign to highlight mental health challenges suffered by farmers and encourage people to ask for help when daily struggles become too much to bear.

“We care about the well-being of our farmers and farm families. We recognize they face unique mental health challenges associated with running a farm business, and want them to know it’s OK to reach out for help,” said Hardeman.

As part of the campaign, Hardeman held a roundtable with members of the agricultural community and had a candid discussion on mental health issues in the sector.

“Farming can be a tough business, one that sometimes takes a toll on farmers and their families and yet we all know people who have been reluctant to ask for help,” said Hardeman. “We want to address the stigma that still surrounds mental health, and help people find the resources that can make a difference.”

The province says it will continue to make mental health a priority.

“I want to thank the farmers and farm leaders who participated in our mental health roundtable and showed a great deal of openness and commitment to help tackle this issue and support hopefulness,” Hardeman said.