‘Do More Ag’ mental health initiative for farmers receives grant

A new non-profit focused on destigmatizing mental illness in the agriculture industry and offering resources designed specifically for farmers has received a $20,000 grant from Bayer Canada.

The Do More Agriculture Foundation was co-founded by Saskatchewan farmers Lesley Rae Kelly and Kim Keller earlier this year.

“The support from Bayer will allow The Do More Agriculture Foundation to move forward with larger initiatives that will be able to support more producers across Canada,” Keller said in a news release. “This will create more awareness around mental health and build more capacity within communities across Canada to be able to support community members who may be facing mental health challenges.”

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The need to support Canadian farmers’ mental well-being has never been greater, the organization said in the release. According to a study from the University of Guelph, more than a third of Canadian producers are experiencing depression and more than half experience anxiety. However, the stigma associated with mental health issues remains a significant barrier for those who need help. Forty per cent of Canadian producers reported they would feel uneasy about seeking professional help due to what other people may think.

“We see first hand the challenges that farmers face and encourage them to access these resources to manage their well-being,” said Al Driver, Bayer Crop Science Canada’s president and CEO.

The Do More Agriculture Foundation website has a directory of mental health resources and crisis lines.

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