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Investing in mental health help for ag

Investing in mental health help for ag

New campaign aims to support Ontario ag industry members dealing with mental health struggles

Staff Writer
Producers and ag industry members can benefit from a new public awareness campaign that identifies mental health challenges in the ag sector.
Ernie Hardeman, the provincial minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, launched the campaign to “encourage people to ask for help when daily struggles become too much to bear,” a Monday OMAFRA release said. 
Hardeman held a roundtable discussion on Monday with ag community members to discuss mental health obstacles in the industry.
Farming is a challenging business, yet many industry members are hesitant to ask for mental health help and support, Hardeman explained. 
"We care about the well-being of our farmers and farm families. We recognize they face unique mental health challenges associated with running a farm business, and want them to know it's OK to reach out for help," Hardeman said in the release.
"We want to address the stigma that still surrounds mental health, and help people find the resources that can make a difference,” he added.
For some growers, navigating labour laws may be a cause for additional stress, Steven Sales, a tobacco farmer from Brant County, told today.
Some “government regulations are crushing independent businesses, causing more mental health stress for farmers,” he said. 
The ministry supports several programs to assist farmers with their mental health, such as research to determine the resources producers need. OMAFRA also offers farm business risk management programs to provide compensation for crop loss and damages. 
Hardeman’s awareness campaign is part of the government’s “commitment to invest $3.8 billion over the next 10 years to develop and implement a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy,” the release said. has reached out to producers for comment. 
PointImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo


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