Owning a farm is much more than a business; it is a way of life. As with most businesses, there are some very stressful times that can weigh you down. During busy seasons or critical production periods, it is normal to be faced with time constraints and pressures and facing major financial issues can multiply these pressures many times. During these times, and with the added reality of COVID-19, these demands can put anyone involved in the business of agriculture under a great deal of stress, often impacting one’s mental health.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) cares about the well-being of farmers and farm families and recognizes the unique challenges that can lead to mental health issues. In an effort to support Ontario farmers and their families experiencing mental health issues, OMAFRA has made various resources available to anyone needing some help during a difficult time. These include:
- Mental Health for Farmers – First Aid Kit website – this website provides links to a wide variety mental health resources available to Ontario farmers and the larger public.
- Geographically based “Financial Resources and Support Services for Families” brochures which provide information on health, financial, and employment services. The brochures are available through the Agricultural Information Contact Centre (AICC: 1-877-424-1300 or email@example.com.) or ministry regional Resource Centres.
- The AICC is the single point of access for information about provincial services and support for agriculture, food and rural Ontario. Inquiries received related to mental health are referred to qualified professionals in local communities.
- Factsheets addressing stress management and other farm business best management practices like:
- The Province of Ontario also supports Ontario 211, a telephone helpline and website that provides callers with information and referrals to services regarding community, social, non-clinical health, and related government services. It helps people navigate the complex network of human services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in multiple languages.
OMAFRA understands that during these uncertain times, many of Ontario’s farmers may be dealing with financial stress. Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Ontario farmers who are experiencing financial difficulty may qualify for financial advisory services to complete a Farm Financial Assessment at no cost to them.
The Farm Financial Assessment provides a review of your farm business’ past financial performance, provides an analysis of the current business climate, develops objectives and identifies options to meet profitability and sustainability goals.
For more information, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is help out there if you’re struggling so reach out to a friend or family member for support. Together we can end the stigma that surrounds mental health. You matter, and you’re important. We’re all in this together.
If you are in need immediate help, please contact one of the following right away:
- Mental Health Helpline – Call: 1-866-531-2600
- The Ontario 211 (Province-wide Crisis Line) – Call: 2-1-1
- Distress Centres in Ontario – email@example.com
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector and increase its competitiveness, prosperity and sustainability.