The ‘It Starts With Me’ project looks to change the language around mental health
By Diego Flammini
A national organization dedicated to mental health support for the ag community has launched its first campaign.
The Do More Agriculture Foundation introduced its “It Starts With Me” movement today. The initiative is designed to flip the script about how farmers talk about mental health, said Lesley Kelly, a co-founder of the organization.
“Mental health starts with each and every person,” she told Farms.com. “This campaign’s goal is to inspire those in agriculture to change our language, which can ultimately save a life. We want to use language in a positive way that increases optimism.
“Some of the examples we use in the campaign is ‘It might not be easy to get help.’ We switch those to have a supportive statement like ‘It might not be easy to get help, but it’s okay to get help.’”
The examples used in the campaign come from personal experiences.
Kelly, a farmer from Watrous, Sask., has seen and heard other producers use similar language to describe how they’re feeling. The messages seen in the organization’s video are real examples that farmers have used, she said.
The campaign also represents a shift in the industry.
Do More Ag is two months away from celebrating its first anniversary. Rewind to the organization’s beginnings, and mental health wasn’t even on the industry’s radar, Kelly said.
“It’s been very humbling,” she said. “The big thing I’ve noticed is that conversations are happening. Before, you wouldn’t see anything online about mental health conversations or see anything at industry events on the subject.
“Now, most events have mental health as part of the agenda. The ag industry, from farmers to organizations, have made great strides in the area of mental health.”
Use the hashtag #ItStartsWithMe to follow the campaign on social media.