Guelph – With the latest research showing that farmers feel more stressed and anxious than other Canadians, it’s more important than ever to support their mental health. That’s why on March 8, 2023, leaders in the agricultural sector from across Canada will come together for the first annual National Symposium on Agricultural Mental Health.
The free, virtual symposium will be hosted by The Guardian Network, an Agriculture Wellness Ontario program run by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario, and the newly formed Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing (CCAW).
Registration is open now at NSAMH.ca
The National Symposium on Agricultural Mental Health aims to connect mental health groups, researchers, government officials and policy makers, members of Canada’s agricultural community including agricultural associations and producer groups, individual advocates, and most importantly farmers, to address the challenges and opportunities of the farmer mental health movement across the country.
“Even at the best of times, agriculture and food production is a demanding, 365-days-a-year job. The Government of Canada is working to break the stigma around mental health,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada. “This symposium creates opportunities to ensure farmers have access to the tools they need to support their well-being.”
“Acknowledging the importance of mental health in our agricultural industry is critical now more than ever. We are pleased to support the National Symposium on Agricultural Mental Health, along with the Canadian Centre from Agricultural Wellbeing, and Canadian Mental Health Association through programs like the Farmer Wellness Initiative and The Guardian Network,” said Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Ontario farmers work hard and programs like these were designed specifically so that no farmer, as well as their families, will ever feel like they don’t have someone to talk to. This event plays a significant role in bringing awareness, supports and change to the industry.”
“This conference is an opportunity for knowledge sharing and a timely response to the needs of Canada’s farming community,” said Dr. Briana Hagen, Chief Executive Officer and Lead Scientist, Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing. “At a time when mental health, food insecurity and sustainability are top of mind for countries all around the world, leaders in the agricultural sector have taken an important step by coming together at the symposium, toward ensuring we take care of the people who grow our food.”
“As we continue to grow The Guardian Network, our volunteer suicide prevention network for the farming community, input from the agricultural community is indispensable to help inform our training and services,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “This symposium provides the opportunity for leaders across sectors to identify challenges and work together to ensure that our farmers are getting the mental health and addictions support when and where they need it.”
The Guardian Network is a volunteer suicide prevention program which supports Ontario’s farming community and is a social enterprise of CMHA Ontario. As part of the Agriculture Wellness Ontario suite of programs, it aims to bring mental health education, free counselling services and enhanced community support to rural and agricultural communities across the province.
CMHA’s Agriculture Wellness Ontario programs are paid for in part by the governments of Canada and Ontario through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.
The first annual National Symposium on Agricultural Mental Health will take place virtually on March 8, 2023, starting at 8:45 a.m. EST.
To register and view the full agenda please go to NSAMH.ca
About the Canadian Centre for Agriculture Wellbeing
The Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing is a national, not-for-profit organization for research, program development, policy, extension and engagement around mental health in Canadian farming. The CCAW works with established and developing grassroots, community-based organizations across the country, to provide critical, evidenced based programming, to the agricultural community.
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health.
For more information please contact:
Senior Strategic Communications Advisor