The Ontario government has announced $385,000 to expand “In the Know,” a mental health literacy program tailored to support the well-being of the farming community. Expanding In the Know to more communities aims to improve the quality and access to mental health services available to Ontario’s agricultural sector to ensure farmers, their families, and their employees have additional places to turn to when help is needed.
Farmers work hard to feed the province and support the economy. However, stigma around mental health and lack of services in rural Ontario are big contributing factors as to why many people in the farming community dealing with a mental illness choose not to seek help.
“I know first-hand how stressful owning and running a farm can be, and this has been a particularly difficult year and a half for farmers. In addition to normal stressors — including the changing weather, commodity prices, pests and diseases — farmers have had to deal with the added complexities of COVID-19,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Our investment to expand the In the Know program will help more people in the province’s farming community access the supports they need to when they need it.”
“Farmers, their families, and communities face unique challenges that can impact their mental health. We are proud to deliver In the Know to facilitate open and safe conversations about mental health and wellness,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “This funding allows CMHA Ontario to continue to build and expand this program, offering it free of charge through CHMA branches to farmers in Ontario.”
The In the Know program is an important mental health literacy program tailored to the needs of the agricultural community offered at 16 CMHA branches in rural and agricultural communities by approximately 30 facilitators. The expansion of the program to more branches aims to improve access to mental health supports in rural areas, reduce the stigma around mental health, encourage more open discussion, and help connect the farm community with the resources and support they need.