"Farming can be a tough business, one that sometimes takes a toll on farmers and their families," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of agriculture and rural affairs. “And yet we all know people who have been reluctant to ask for help.”
His remarks were part of a public awareness campaign launched Jan. 7, 2019 to highlight mental health challenges suffered by farmers. It’s aimed at encouraging people to ask for help when daily struggles become too difficult.
“We want to address the stigma that still surrounds mental health and help people find the resources that can make a difference," he emphasized.
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.
The ministry 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.
The campaign is part of the provincial government's $3.8 billion commitment over the next 10 years to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy.
"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.
If you or someone you know needs help, OMAFRA’s Mental Health for Farmers at omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/mental-health.htm contains a listing of useful contacts and information.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs January 7, 2019 news release