More than 700 producers used the resource last year
By Diego Flammini
The number of Saskatchewan producers using a telephone mental health resource is increasing.
Just over 300 farmers used the Farm Stress Line during Mobile Crisis Services’ last fiscal year. That figure has more than doubled, said John McFadyen, the organization’s executive director.
“Recently we did a report to the Ministry of Agriculture. I looked at the last fiscal year and there’s been a significant increase in calls,” he told SwiftCurrent Online on Saturday. “In 2017-18, there were 320 calls, and, in our last fiscal year, which goes to the end of March of 2019, we had 757 calls.”
The resource is available 24/7 for farmers and other rural residents.
Callers discuss such topics as mental health wellness, domestic issues and addiction issues, McFadyen said.
Producers also contact the Farm Stress Line because of ag-related topics.
Given the uncertainty surrounding parts of the ag sector, seeing a rise in the number of calls isn’t surprising, said Kim Keller, a Saskatchewan producer and co-founder of the Do More Agriculture Foundation.
“We have a lot of producers who are facing a lot of extra pressures and stress whether it’s the weather, financial, or with respect to trade barriers,” she told Farms.com. “With all that going on, it could cause more farmers to reach out and look for support.”
The increase in the number of producers reaching out could also be because more of them are willing to talk about mental health, Keller said.
“More farmers now have an awareness about mental health and know the stress line exists at all,” she added.