(© Can Stock Photo / robwilson39)

Seaforth student researching mental health of farmers

Shanna Cardno of Seaforth has joined the Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health team as a research student for the summer.

She’ll focus primarily on developing a mental health and resiliency program for farmers.

Cardno said very little has been done in this area.

“It’s something that hasn’t really been looked at. There’s a study out of the University of Guelph that looked at farmers and the unique struggles that they face because a lot of factors are out of their control,” she said.

Cardno said one of the challenges farmers face is the amount of time they spend in isolation.

“Farmers are in isolation a lot of the time, so they don’t have the social supports and stuff when they’re feeling down and they also work long hours, so they miss time at home or with friends and it’s important to find ways to build social networks for farmers,” said Cardno.

Cardno also said it’s difficult for many farmers to take a family vacation or get away from the farm so those social networks are important.

She added it’s important research for the four-county area because agriculture is such an important part of the economy.