Following a successful one-year pilot project, Do More Agriculture (DMA) Foundation and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) announced they are extending and expanding their partnership to bring mental health awareness and training to rural Canada.
“We are so very grateful for the positive feedback, overwhelming interest and powerful impact this pilot project is having on the lives of so many producers and rural residents,” DMA Executive Director Adelle Stewart said. “It’s thrilling to think of the reach we will have across Canada through this continuation and expansion of mental health literacy training in rural Canada, as well as the many more agriculture-focused workshops we will be able to offer our producers.”
Under the pilot project, FCC provided $50,000 in funding to facilitate mental health first aid training for producers and agriculture industry in 12 selected communities across Canada. As a result, 236 rural residents are now certified mental health first aid responders and leaders.
The two-day training program, developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, is aimed at developing community leaders, who are trained to identify mental health concerns and provide initial supports to producers coping with difficult or unfortunate circumstances. The program is offered at no cost to participants.
“The training is aimed at raising mental health awareness and equipping participants with basic skills to provide assistance when help is not immediately available,” Stewart said. “The network of volunteers who can help has taken root and will continue to grow under this renewed and expanded partnership.”
In 2020, FCC will invest an additional $100,000 to the project’s reach in the second year.
“Mental health issues impact every segment of our society and those who work in Canada’s thriving agriculture and food industry are not immune,” said Michael Hoffort, FCC president and CEO. “As a committed partner to this industry, we recognize the need for increased mental health support in agriculture, where people – often located in rural Canada – can sometimes feel isolated and don’t always know who to turn to for help.”
“Our government is committed to working with all partners to address the mental well-being challenges faced by Canadian farmers. By building a network of certified mental health responders, Do More Ag is contributing to mental health well-being and awareness of residents throughout rural Canada,” Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau said. “The demand for this type of training is evident and our Government, through FCC, is pleased to announce increased funding to this important initiative.
Applications for training program funding will open later this fall and trainings will occur throughout early 2020. Interested communities will be able to apply online at www.domore.ag