NewsMental HealthOntario Invests $7 Million in Multi-year Farmer Mental Health Initiatives

Ontario Invests $7 Million in Multi-year Farmer Mental Health Initiatives

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The federal and provincial governments of Ontario have invested more than $7 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership in multiyear mental health initiatives for farmers, a Nov. 22 news release says.

“The farming community has demonstrated great strength and resilience throughout the pandemic, but mental health challenges often go unseen. If you are struggling, the first step is to reach out, because you are not alone in facing these challenges,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food says in the release.

The release says the Guardians Network and a new program modelled after the successful Farmer Wellness Program pioneered by mental health specialist Deborah Vanberkel, will help farmers in the province. These programs are expected to launch early next year and will be developed in consultation with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and other mental health sector experts.

“Our government is providing the necessary funding for these programs, and is committed to doing everything we can to help address these challenges and support mental health in our farming communities,” Lisa Thompson, Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, says in the release.

The programs are the direct result of numerous roundtable discussions, and other engagements with farmers about their mental health concerns, the release says.

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