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Farmers want and need mental health help: U of G survey

Survey included 1,100 farmers

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

The results from a recent University of Guelph survey show that farmers are among the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health.

Similar studies have been conducted in Norway and England. According to the U of G study, Canadian farmers are more stressed than their European counterparts. Stress, anxiety, depression and burnout are also all higher in Canadian farmers than other groups studied for mental health.

Professor Andria Jones-Bitton in the Department of Population Medicine conducted the survey. It consisted of more than 1,100 responses between September 2015 and January 2016.


She said the responses from farmers has shown the impact the work and culture has on their mental health.

Farmer in field

“One said, ‘We are not invincible, but we feel we must be’. Another said, ‘What makes me the most upset is that I have everything I dreamed of – love, family and a farm – and all I feel is overwhelmed, out of control and sad,’” she said in a release.

Other findings include 45 per cent of respondents had high stress; 58 per cent classified as having some level of anxiety; and 35 per cent with depression.

According to the survey, many farmers feel they need more resources for mental health support. But 40 per cent of respondents said they’d worry about what their peers thought if they knew a fellow producer was seeking mental health help.

“We need to do something,” Jones-Bitton said. “Farmers want help, and we’re going to find ways for them to receive it.”


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