A mental health literacy program for farmers and the agricultural community
In the Know is a mental health literacy program developed at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph) created specifically to educate the agricultural community. With support from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, several CMHA branches in rural and agricultural communities offer this training.
The four-hour mental health literacy workshop is designed to fit with farmers/producers limited availability owing to rigid daily schedules, distilling critical information and incorporating agricultural community culture. The workshop was developed in collaboration with stakeholder groups, including various agricultural sectors, mental health literacy trainers, government and representatives from social work, psychology, epidemiology, and education.
In the Know is meant for farmers, producers and persons with whom they have regular contact. This may include, but is not limited to, family members, peers and allies in the agricultural industry such as veterinarians, breeders, seed or feed salespeople, financial institutions, accountants or community members who have direct contact with farm owners/operators.
Source: National Survey of Farmer Mental Health, Submission to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food: Strengthening Canada’s Agricultural Sector – A Canadian Network for Farmer Mental Health by Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph (2016)
In the Know pilot evaluation demonstrates efficacy
An evaluated pilot of In the Know training in 2019 showed the course increased participants’ mental health knowledge and confidence in recognizing mental health struggles, speaking about mental health, and helping others who are struggling. Spearheaded by Dr. Briana Hagen and Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton of the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, and a stakeholder team from farming and mental health backgrounds, In the Know aims to build mental health knowledge and increase help-seeking among farmers. The course provides education on topics such as stress, depression, anxiety, substance misuse and how to start a conversation around mental well-being.
Find more mental health resources that may benefit the agriculture community here.