The government noted that calls to the province's Farm Stress Line doubled in 2018-19 compared to the year before, and COVID-19 is placing new stressors on people. | Getty Images

App offers mental health support

A province-wide Innovation Challenge this spring in Saskatchewan has led to an app to help farmers with their mental health. Bridges Health in Saskatoon was chosen from among technology companies that offered solutions to farmers and ranchers. The app, called Avail, will link people to supports they need anywhere and any time. The government noted […] Read more

Too many choices to make can be overwhelming for farmers because they can cause confusion, take too much time to explore and provoke anxiety.  |  Getty Images

Immediate action uncommon with farm stress

Anxiety and depression are the most seen mental health issues facing today’s farmers, but many don’t seek help till later

Farming is a stressful business, and 2020 is shaping up to be a doozy. A dry summer across a good part of the Prairies last year was followed by a delayed harvest due to excess moisture in fall. That led to poor yields and crop left unharvested over winter in some areas. Then came the […] Read more

Loss of farm legacy called major suicide factor

Ontario hog producer tells his story of mental anguish and how one phone call helped pull him back from the brink

Just before Stewart Skinner planned to kill himself, he made a phone call. It saved his life. The Ontario hog farmer was in severe mental anguish as he faced the spectre of losing a farm that had been in his family for six generations. He saw only one way to stop the pain. “I am […] Read more

Increasing happiness quotient more important than ever

For a great many farms, 2019 won’t actually fade into the rear-view mirror until the harvest is finished in spring. That’s definitely not how the plans were originally drawn up. People will likely be getting tired of talking about 2019 and how difficult it was. Having said that, I’ve observed that quite a hangover remains […] Read more

Michele Payn says mental health challenges among farmers and people who work in the industry are a problem, citing research that shows suicide rates are 50 percent higher in agriculture than in the general population. | Getty Images

Sharing breaks mental health stigma

Having the discussion can lead to more supports for people living in rural areas, says agriculture industry representative

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Michele Payn recalled what she calls one of the worst phone calls of her life. It was her parents. They told her they were selling all of their dairy cows and that they had lost the entire farm to bankruptcy. “That experience divided our family and it made me want to lay […] Read more

Alexis Epp, left, of Saskatoon and Elaina Guilmette, a teacher at the Sun West Distance Learning Centre in Kenaston, Sask., collaborated to help develop the school’s new Mental Wellness 30 course, which was launched in September. Guilmette will teach the online course while Epp has been hired and trained as a peer supporter for students enrolled in the course.  |  Sun West Distance Learning Centre photo

Mental wellness goes to school

A new course in Saskatchewan teaches high school and university students how to manage mental health challenges

Alexis Epp has turned a negative situation positive. Her years of battling mental illness are now being directed to helping other young people who might experience similar issues. As a teenager she struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as a medical system that did not seem able to help her. Eventually, she got […] Read more

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 75 farmers and agriculture professionals that mostly live in Ontario.

They extrapolated common themes from the interviews, finding public scrutiny was one topic that participants often discussed. | Getty Images

Farmers feel increasingly under attack

QUEBEC CITY — Farmers are feeling increasingly under attack by the general public, according to new data, putting them in situations that add stress to their lives. The University of Guelph qualitative study found a general theme of producers saying they face more public scrutiny, which in turn creates additional stress. “There was a surprising […] Read more

Life is now good for Adam Watson with wife Laura and young son Abel.  |  Chris McCullough photo

Young U.K. farmer opens up about depression

A dairy producer from Northern Ireland shares his story about dealing with what he calls the ‘black hood’ of depression

Three years ago, Northern Ireland dairy farmer Adam Watson was not in a good place. Stress from falling milk prices and his forthcoming wedding started to affect his mental health. Little did Watson know then that those pressures would boil over and push him to a point where he seriously considered taking his own life. […] Read more

A recent survey found that farmers feel increasingly vilified by uninformed public opinion about livestock production and by campaigns organized by animal activist groups.  |  Mike Sturk photo

Animal neglect linked to mental health

A veterinarian draws a direct link between producers’ mental health and the well-being of the livestock in their care

OTTAWA — Stories about livestock that are found to be confined, neglected, emaciated or dead on a farmer’s property tend to generate big headlines. “I don’t understand how anyone could do that,” is the resulting refrain. Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton has heard that common response. “Frankly, if you can’t understand that, it’s probably a good thing. […] Read more

Hannah Kemp grooms a heifer at Farmfair International, where she has successfully shown Main-Tainer cattle.  She is also part of her family’s effort to set up a scholarship to promote mental health.   |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Ranch family tackles mental health

A suicide attempt prompts Alberta producer to set up scholarship for the promotion of mental health awareness

EDMONTON — Lee Kemp flashes a smile through fluffy white whiskers, but behind the good humoured face are fresh memories of his struggles with mental health. After a bout in hospital last spring following a suicide attempt, the Alberta farmer learned it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or talk about […] Read more