Ontario Expanding Ag Mental Health Literacy Program

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Ontario is giving $385,000 to expand its agriculture mental health literacy program called “In the Know,” the provincial government says in a Sept. 27 news release.

By expanding In the Know to more communities, the release notes it will improve the quality and access to mental health services available to Ontario’s agricultural sector.

“I know first-hand how stressful owning and running a farm can be, and this has been a particularly difficult year and a half for farmers,” Lisa Thompson, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, says in the release. “Our investment to expand the In the Know program will help more people in the province’s farming community access the supports they need to when they need it.”

The In the Know program is a mental health literacy program tailored to the needs of the agricultural community. It is offered at 16 Canadian Mental Health Association branches in rural and agricultural communities by approximately 30 facilitators, the release says. The expansion of the program to more branches will help improve access to mental health supports in rural areas.

The release notes in previous roundtables and conversations farmers have indicated they are more likely to open up about their mental health if they feel their counsellor or other mental health support understands the agricultural sector and the realities of farming. In the Know was developed as a result of research at the University of Guelph funded, in part, by the provincial government.

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