Agriculture-specific mental health literacy training will be available for Manitoba farmers through Keystone Agricultural Producers starting January 18.
KAP will host ‘In the Know’ — a course developed especially for farmers to inform them on mental health, how to cope with the stresses of farming, and how to start safe conversations about mental health.
“Our goal in 2021 is to offer it to 500 farmers and people who work directly with farmers to create an informed and caring network of individuals,” said Thea Green, program manager at KAP.
Researchers from the University of Guelph developed ‘In the Know’ based on surveys of over 1,100 Canadian farmers and further in-depth interviews into farmers’ mental health, an article on the university’s website says.
“Sadly, we learned that many of our farmers are experiencing issues with high stress, anxiety, burnout, and low resilience,” said researcher Andria Jones-Bitton in the article.
“We must better support our agricultural community,” she added.
They ran a pilot of the course in Ontario in 2019.
Green said evaluations of the pilot program showed participants were better able to recognize the symptoms of struggling with mental health, felt more confident talking about mental health, and felt more confident in their ability to help others.
“That to us sounded hugely important,” she said.
The course consists of one session about four hours long, said Green. KAP will deliver the courses to small groups via Zoom.
KAP has 34 sessions planned between January 18 and March 31. They’ll be staggered over different days of the week and times of day to make sessions as accessible as possible. Course instructors will be mental health professionals with lived agricultural experience, said Green.
Green encouraged farmers and people who work directly with them to apply.
“People who work directly with farmers are a huge part of the support network that farmers have,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking to their loved ones or telling them what’s going on, but they’ll disclose that they’re struggling to a trusted adviser.”
To register visit kap.ca.