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Ag organizations prioritize mental health

Ag organizations prioritize mental health

FCC and Do More Agriculture partner to promote mental health awareness and training

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Farms.com 

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) and the Do More Agriculture (DMA) foundation have teamed up to promote mental health and wellness in the ag community.

FCC and DMA have launched a one-year pilot project to create a network of mental health first aiders who recognize and support farmers who are going through difficult times, an FCC release said today.

“We really want to support the ag industry in mental health awareness,” Glenda Heavisides, community investment consultant with FCC, said to Farms.com today.

“Specifically, this project (is intended) to develop that network of community members and equip them with skills to identify or help someone who may be struggling.”

FCC is supporting these actions with a $50,000 donation.

Project leads will use the funding to provide mental health training for producers and industry professionals across Canada, the release said.

During training sessions, participants will learn how to provide immediate assistance to those in need. The training will also raise awareness about mental health.

“Ultimately, we want to be able to connect individuals seeking further support with mental health professionals,” Heavisides said. 

The sessions will be free and offered by credible experts, the release said.

“We see the need for increased mental health support in agriculture and rural Canada, where people sometimes feel isolated and don’t always know who or where to turn to for help,” Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO, said in the release.

Community members who are interested in attending these sessions are encouraged to apply to DMA for funding.

Mental health in agriculture has been a hot topic in recent months. Less than ideal weather and planting conditions, as well as shipping challenges, have createdr some difficult circumstances and increased stress for farmers.

“Producers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health issues,” Kim Keller, executive director for DMA, said in the release.

“By collaborating with FCC and other industry partners, we are raising awareness of mental health and increasing the number of people certified to provide support in rural communities across Canada.”    

  

Launched in January, DMA promotes mental health awareness, well-being and research, as well as empowers Canadian farmers to take care of their mental well-being, the release said.

FCC will promote mental health awareness at the Farm Progress Show in Regina. The company will offer information and services through its FCC wellness centre. On Thursday afternoon, FCC will have mental health awareness speakers.

PointImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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