AgSafe BC and Farm Credit Canada will host free online sessions
By Diego Flammini
Canadian farmers looking for mental health support can receive it during upcoming webinars.
At least two organizations are providing mental health webinars for members of the ag community.
AgSafe BC is hosting two virtual group discussions for farmers in that province.
The free events occur on Nov. 28 at 9:00pm EST and Dec. 5 at 2:00pm EST. Each session can accommodate up to 20 producers.
“The sessions are intended to be a safe space for farmers to talk to their peers and reflect on their seasons, the challenges they’ve had and to unpack some of that stuff,” Greg Awai, a partner at Osier Consulting who works with AgSafe to manage the organization's mental wellness programs, told Farms.com. “We want to introduce farmers to the idea of speaking to a counsellor, but in a less intense way.”
Sophia Sorensen, a registered counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, will be on hand to facilitate the sessions.
She suggested AgSafe BC offer these sessions after past experiences conducting similar events with wildfire service members.
“The goal is to help impacted individuals understand that they are not alone, there is a vast network of support and perhaps gain some practical mental health tools for moving forward,” she said. “These sessions are basic in nature, very successfully adapted for supporting those dealing with the impacts of serious events and allows a safe forum with understanding professionals, to share concerns and feelings with producers who are often dealing with the same concerns and issues.”
Up until last year, Awai operated a small farm where he raised meat birds, eggs and vegetables.
His experiences include understanding the challenges associated with farming and bearing all of its pressure.
“You have all these issues that are outside of (a farmer’s) control, and you feel like every problem is your problem,” he said. “Even though my family was involved, I felt like it was my thing and I had to do all the work. I’m sure my family understood, but I felt like they didn’t, and I found that quite isolating.”
Farm Credit Canada is also hosting a mental health webinar for producers.
The organization invites Canadian farmers to attend the “Tools for Managing Your Mental Health” webinar on Nov. 14.
The free session runs from 2:00 to 3:00pm EST and will feature two guest speakers.
Katelyn Duban, an Alberta farmer and host of The Rural Woman Podcast, will host the event.
And Dale Curd, an executive leadership coach and host of CBC’s Hello Goodbye, will provide insights into recognizing and understanding when mental health is a problem, and tools on how to overcome anxiety and depression.
The deadline to register for Farm Credit Canada’s event is 9am EST on Nov. 14.
If you know of any other upcoming mental health webinars for producers, please pass that information on to Farms.com.
And if you or someone you know requires mental health support, Farms.com has compiled a list of available resources.