Farming is a beautiful way of life but it’s certainly not always easy. Even the most accomplished farmer can struggle with mental health issues. While unfortunately there is still a lot of stigma around mental health issues that influences false perceptions of peoples’ experiences, it doesn’t have to be this way. Addressing these mental health issues with trusted allies and professionals can really help to improve understanding, support, and overall quality of life.
When you think about a physical illness, like having a broken arm, for example, the path to healing is pretty straight forward: an X-Ray is done, a cast is put on, and time is required to heal, along with supportive readaptation exercises that can help to build strength to bring the arm back to normal.
Mental health issues are not that different! Even though mental health may be less visible than a broken arm, a broken soul can hurt just as much, if not more. Unfortunately, a common gut reflex is to ignore the pain in order to push ourselves forward no matter what. This approach can worsen the problem. When an individual experiences poor mental health this too requires the proper ingredients and time to heal.
Talking about your struggle, and seeking support and help won’t make you a weak person but it can help to prevent total burnout and long-term illness.
In this video, JM talks about his own experience in dealing with mental health issues:
There is also an array of professional resources out there if you are in pain.
- Ordre des psychologues du Québec, find a professional counselors in your area
- Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-866-277-3553
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Canada Suicide Prevention
- Do More Agriculture Foundation – a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.
- Stigma Free Society – Rural Mental Health Toolkit
- Young Agrarians Resources for Mental Health and Wellness (applies to U.S. too).
- Better Help, Online access to professional counsellors
- A list of 60 ressources around mental heatlth
- Real Farmer Care – Founded by Clara Coleman, Real Farmer Care’s founding mission is to support farmer’s self-care needs, especially BIPOC farmers (Black, Indigenous, People Of Color), and allocate donated funds directly to farmers.