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

Amber Fletcher told the House of Commons agriculture committee that rising input costs, driven by the corporate need for profit, are reducing the ability for farmers to profit.  |  Getty Images

Higher incomes not alleviating farm stress

Despite a rising trend in farm income over the last 10 years, farmers are experiencing significant uncertainty and stress, says a University of Regina researcher. Dr. Amber Fletcher, speaking to the House of Commons agriculture committee during its study of mental health, said her analysis of farm income between 1981 and 2017 “shows that since […] Read more


High stress levels, isolation and lack of access to mental health care are combining to push agricultural producers to their breaking points, according to a mental health expert.
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Farmers pushed to breaking point: expert

Suicide prevention is identified as a key way to address the mental health pressures that producers are facing

High stress levels, isolation and lack of access to mental health care are combining to push agricultural producers to their breaking points, according to a mental health expert. Testifying at the House of Commons agriculture committee last week, the president of the Mental Health Commission of Canada said a number of practical measures are required […] Read more



The House of Commons agriculture committee has agreed to study rural mental health. | Getty image

MPs study mental health services for farmers

An advocate for better mental health support for farmers says the House of Commons agriculture committee’s decision to study the issue is a good step forward. Kim Keller, a Saskatchewan farmer who co-founded DoMoreAg, said she hopes the committee work will complement research that has already been done, such as that at Ontario’s University of […] Read more

The House of Commons agriculture committee has agreed to study rural mental health. | Getty image

Ag committee to study mental health

The House of Commons agriculture committee has agreed to study rural mental health. Committee members voted unanimously in favour of a motion put forward by Liberal MP Pierre Breton at their Monday meeting. The motion called on the committee to study mental health challenges faced by farmers, ranchers and producers. The committee will meet with […] Read more

Trewett Chaplin, a 28-year-old farmer near Craik, Sask., says he experiences social isolation and stress, particularly in years with drought or other unexpected conditions. He’s not alone, according to recent statistics.   |  William DeKay photo

An isolating illness: talking about mental health

When Trewett Chaplin is stressed, he puts his head down and focuses on one task that he has to get done that day on his ranch. At 28 years old, Chaplin takes care of 550 head of cattle and 230 head of bison on his ranch near Craik, Sask. He farms by himself and is […] Read more


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Feeling stressed? How to cope with the pressures of farming

There are numerous indicators showing that changes are happening in farm business management. Nothing too surprising about that. I experienced one recently when I had the opportunity to facilitate a peer group meeting. There were 12 people: some younger, others seasoned, representing eight farms. The change that I witnessed was the willingness of those at […] Read more

Why do rural men find it difficult to seek help for depression? | File photo

Suffering in silence

John Smith is a farmer in this fictional scenario. He prides himself on being the strong, silent type who provides for his family and minds his own business. But lately, John has been feeling blue. He is uncharacteristically anxious and lacks motivation to do his usual tasks. He yells at his wife and children over […] Read more