Cam­paign puts fo­cus on farm­ers’ men­tal health

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE -

Help is avail­able for farm­ers deal­ing with men­tal health is­sues, Brant­ford-Brant MPP Will Bouma said this week.

“Farm­ing can be a tough busi­ness, one that some­times takes its toll on farm­ers and their fam­i­lies and yet we all know peo­ple who have been reluc­tant to ask for help,” Bouma said dur­ing a Tues­day an­nounce­ment. “We want to ad­dress the stigma that still sur­rounds men­tal health and help peo­ple find the re­sources that can make dif­fer­ence.”

Bouma made the com­ments as part of a men­tal-health pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign launched by the provin­cial gov­ern­ment this week to high­light re­sources avail­able to sup­port the men­tal health of farm­ers. The cam­paign was an­nounced by Bouma on be­half of Ox­ford MPP Ernie Harde­man, the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, food and ru­ral af­fairs.

“Our gov­ern­ment cares about the well-be­ing of our farm­ers and farm fam­i­lies and rec­og­nizes they face unique men­tal health chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with run­ning a farm busi­ness,” Bouma said.

Avail­able re­sources in­clude the provincewide Men­tal Health Helpline (1-866-531-2600), Cri­sis Line (211) and dis­tress cen­tres. Pro­grams to help farm­ers, in­clud­ing re­search to eval­u­ate men­tal­health needs for farm­ers and busi­ness risk-man­age­ment pro­grams to cover loss and dam­age, are also sup­ported by the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry, Bouma said.

“If you’re a farmer fac­ing men­tal health chal­lenges we en­cour­age you to reach out for help,” Bouma said. “You are not alone.”

The pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign is part of an over­all provin­cial gov­ern­ment com­mit­ment to spend $3.8 bil­lion over the next 10 years to de­velop and im­ple­ment a men­tal­health and ad­dic­tions strat­egy. Bouma said the gov­ern­ment is mak­ing men­tal health a pri­or­ity and is work­ing to­ward cre­at­ing a prov­ince where ev­ery­one is fully sup­ported on their jour­ney to men­tal well­ness.

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