The Do More Agriculture Foundation Launches First Awareness Campaign — “It Starts With Me”

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The Do More Agriculture Foundation, a not-for-profit championing mental health in agriculture, launched its first awareness campaign called “It Starts with Me.” The campaign highlights that changing the narrative around mental health starts with each of us personally. The campaign aims to: reduce stigmas, understand that each of us plays a role, and inspire those in agriculture to take care of their mental well-being.

“We each can promote change by making small adjustments to our internal and external language. We often don’t think about how the language we use can impact mental health,” explains Do More Agriculture Foundation co-founder Kim Keller. “Language is a powerful tool. Positive language creates positive outcomes, improves communication, and increases our confidence. This campaign aims to inspire reflection and encourage people to participate in their own way.”

“It Starts with Me” identifies common phrases heard or spoken within the agriculture community and suggests alternative language. The campaign highlights how a simple statement like ‘just get over it’ can be rephrased to a more supportive statement like ‘It might not be easy, but it’s okay to get help.’ The campaign also highlights internal dialogue and encourages people to be kinder to themselves.

Last year, Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton from the University of Guelph conducted a survey of 1,100 producers from across Canada. The results found 35 per cent of Canadian producers could be classified as depressed and 58 per cent of producers meet the criteria for anxiety.

Mental health is part of all of us. NOW is the time we change the conversation about mental health. Language matters. Choose yours.

Learn more at domore.ag. See examples and share stories using #ItStartsWithMe.

Source: domore.ag

Staying Mentally Healthy Under Harvest Pressure

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Taking a few simple steps to help manage stress at harvest will go a long way to maintaining good mental health, said a founder of the Do More Agriculture Foundation.

“It’s easy to become isolated during harvest because you’re busy, potentially stressed, lacking sleep and likely alone in a cab of equipment for the majority of the day,” explained Kim Keller. “Stay in contact daily with friends or family or other networks via text or phone calls to reduce the feelings of isolation. Often a quick phone call to someone you trust is all that’s needed to stop negative thoughts from growing and taking over.”

Keller and the other founders of Do More Ag envision a culture in agriculture where all producers are encouraged, empowered and supported to take care of their mental well being. The organization is helping to realize this culture in agriculture by creating awareness about mental health and breaking the stigma that currently exists, while building a community of support and resources for those impacted and affected. Do More Ag aims to help all producers realize they are not alone and they have an entire industry behind them.

Click here to read Do More Ag’s six things you can do to stay resilient this harvest season, which is proving more challenging than usual for many farmers on the Prairies.

“Sitting for long periods of time in a cab during a high stress time of year can be trying for both your body and mind,” Keller added. “Try doing simple stretches in the cab throughout the day to stimulate blood circulation and release tension. Self care is even more important during busy times. Self care isn’t just baths and candles, sometimes during busy times like harvest, it’s wearing clean clothes, drinking enough water and eating good food.”

Links to more mental health resources are available below.

Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line 1-877-303-2642
https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/injprev/Page4875.aspx

Saskatchewan Farm Stress Line http://www.mobilecrisis.ca/farm-stress-line-rural-sask