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New Tools Under Development to Help Farmers Improve Mental Wellness
Briana Hagen - University of Guelph

Farmscape for April 23, 2018

Researchers with the University of Guelph, in partnership with farmers and mental health professionals are working to develop new tools to help farmers cope with stress and improve their mental well being.
Research conducted in 2015 and 2016 by the University of Guelph showed Canadian farmers experience higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression and burnout compared to other occupations and compared to the general population.
Now the team is taking steps to develop new resources that farmers can use to improve their mental wellness.
Briana Hagen, a PhD Candidate in epidemiology with the University of Guelph, says the effort revolves around  mental health training for farmers,

Clip-Briana Hagen-University of Guelph:
I think we all know that stress can affect us physiologically and psychologically in all aspects of our life.
The significance of that on mental health, we're not exactly sure what they means in the contest of farming so that is why we started doing this research, looking into the factors that might affect stress of farmers.
What we're currently working on, in partnership with our working group which includes farmers and people working with farmers like veterinarians and industry representatives, is looking at building up mental health literacy and developing some things specifically for the agricultural community, not just something that's used in the general population.
What we found was that that wasn't specific enough to be relatable back to the agricultural community so we're now developing the content of the mental health literacy training specifically for farmers.
It'll include things like what is anxiety, what is depression, what does burnout look like, how can we recognize it in one another and how can we have appropriate conversations about mental health to make sure that our fellow farmers are feeling supported?
How can we then take the next step to moving them to appropriate resources should they need them.

Hagen says the program will be piloted over the summer to make sure it's effective and the hope is to launch the program at the end of the year.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.


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