The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $7 million to launch two, new multi-year mental health initiatives specialized to support those in the agriculture sector.
The Guardians Network and a new program modelled after the successful Farmer Wellness Program pioneered by mental health specialist Deborah Vanberkel will provide farm families across the province with free counselling services and help connect at-risk farmers with tailored support and resources.
The Guardians Network will create a suicide prevention network across Ontario. It’s a training program for people who surround farmers such as vets, breeders, seed or feed salespeople, financial institutions, accountants or community members who have direct contact with farm owner or operators. They’ll learn how to recognize signs of suicide so that if they’ll be able to recognize people who may be in distress.
These initiatives are expected to launch early next year and will be developed in consultation with CMHA Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and other mental health sector experts.
These programs are the direct result of numerous roundtable discussions and other engagements with farmers about their mental health concerns. The design seeks to further enhance numerous other government-led mental health enhancement actions, such as an expansion of the In the Know program.
See the full news release here.