Listening is best medicine in tough times

There is no need to list the curveballs this crop year has thrown at Canadian producers. Farmers know how hard it’s been.

Each of the weather and market hurdles have kept thousands of you up at night as you run through scenarios of what might happen next and what you can do to pull through.

But sometimes there is nothing to be done, as last weekend’s snowfall on late prairie crops illustrates.

It didn’t matter if crops were in early this spring because there wasn’t enough moisture to carry a crop until the middle of the summer.

Still, there is little solace in knowing you’re not alone in this mess and that it’s not your fault because flattened and soggy crops have a weight on the psyche that only farmers understand.

The provincial farm stress lines will be seeing increased traffic after this snowfall and I encourage all of you to use this resource if you need it.

I used to work as a counsellor for a child and family service agency and I worked with professional crisis counsellors who knew how to get people through tough times.

I was told to do whatever I could to get people in crisis talking, and keep them talking because they need to share their emotional burdens.

They said our job as counsellors was to help carry the weight people in crisis are under, until they can handle it themselves.

Also, it’s the people who are not expressing any emotion or who insist on pulling away from everyone that are often at the most risk of harming themselves.

It’s important to talk to someone about the stress you’re under, and to understand that everyone needs someone to lean on.

It’s also important to make sure your friends, family and neighbours who are struggling have support if they need it.

Fill a thermos of coffee, make some sandwiches and visit a neighbour or two.

Or drive over to your relatives that live just far enough away that you never seem to make it there as much as you’d like.

If you know someone who is struggling, take them for a drive to help get their minds off the farm for a little while.

Small gestures at the right time can make a world of difference.

Farm stress lines:

  • Saskachewan — 800-667-4442
  • Manitoba — 866-367-3276 or 204-571-4180
  • Alberta — 877-303-2642

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