New program aims to help farmers with mental health issues
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:13PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 20, 2018 8:14PM EST
It’s been a stressful year for farmers in Manitoba. A wet fall led to a late harvest that meant barely getting the crops off the field on time before the frost.
Farmer Colin Crockatt says that type of stress, common for farmers whose crop yields go up and down, “definitely makes you stay up at night.”
Stress can take a toll on mental health. But Crockatt says that’s not something many farmers are traditionally willing to talk about.
“As kids, even people in the city would've heard ‘cowboys don't cry, tough men don't complain, they keep it to themselves,’” he told CTV Manitoba. “That is the worst advice.”
A 2016 study from the University of Guelph found that 45 per cent of farmers had high levels of stress. Forty per cent said they would feel uneasy asking for professional help.
On Tuesday, the federal government unveiled a new initiative aimed at supporting mental and physical health in farming communities.
Farm Credit Canada will contribute $50,000 toward the National 4-H Healthy Living Initiative, which will be made available to more than 7,700 volunteer leaders and 25,000 4-H members across Canada.
FCC is also partnering with mental health experts to create a resource for managing stress and anxiety on the farm called Rooted in Strength, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said that Canada loses farmers every year to suicide.
“Farmers and their families are facing more stress and more depression than the general population,” he said.
Crockatt said he believes the new initiative is an important step.
“The stigma’s huge out there,” he said. “People just don't want to admit it even though they need to for their own and for future generations."
With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Josh Crabb