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Stress Helpline Goes Viral

After operating a call line and responding to 17,578 calls, Manitoba Rural and Farm Support Services (MRFSS) is marking their 10th anniversary with the launch of their new web services, announced Janet Smith, Farm and Rural Support Line manager at this year’s Ag Days.

Their website now has Skype, live chat and direct email to a counsellor; allowing people to stay in the comfort of their home and to receive support about issues that are affecting them in their day-today lives.

Smith said that she hopes the changes will not only encourage more people to reach out for help, but that the increased presence on the Internet will attract more youth.

“Other counselling programs that have introduced social media and online counselling have found that they have increased contact with folks, as a result,” said Smith. MRFSS has accounts on both social networks, Twitter and Facebook.

It is harder for rural and farm people to access mental health support services because they are not locally available. As well, pride and the nature of the agriculture industry act as a deterrent.

Last year was the busiest year for MRFSS, with the call line receiving 2,430 calls. The MRFSS is staffed by counsellors who are farmers and have first-hand knowledge of the stress that is involved with rural living and farming.

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