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Overview

Each day, farmers and their families face industry specific challenges that can present unique circumstances that can impact their mental health. If you find yourself struggling with the impact of these stresses, that’s okay, you’re not alone.

Mental health is just as important as physical health. The resources on this page provide information to help farmers, farm workers and their families better understand what resources are available to help reduce stress, anxiety and improve their overall well-being.

Immediate help

Farmer Wellness Initiative

Access to free, professional mental health counselling support by calling the toll-free number 1-866-267-6255.

Designed to help connect Ontario farmers and their families with tailored mental health support offered by licensed professionals, the Farmer Wellness Initiative is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Available in English and French.

Eligibility

  • Ontario-based farmers
  • Ontario-based members of farming households (including spouses/domestic partners, children, dependents and family members involved in the operation of the farm)

How it works

When you call the support line, you will be entered into an intake process to arrange counselling sessions with a mental health professional. The sessions will be available:

  • by phone
  • virtually
  • in-person

Each person will have access to free counselling sessions.

All information received through counselling sessions is confidential and in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (2004).

Learn more about the Farmer Wellness Initiative.

Resources in your community

ConnexOntario

ConnexOntario helps connect people to the mental health, addiction and problem gambling resources they need.

This service is available through:

Ontario 211

The Ontario 211 (province-wide crisis line) will connect callers to mental health supports in their communities.

This service is available through:

Ontario Structured Psychotherapy

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health conditions Ontarians face.

Individuals aged 18 years and older can access the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program to get confidential cognitive behavioural therapy and other services free of charge.

Each potential client is assessed by a trained mental health professional. Depending on the level of need, a person may be matched with:

  • self-led resources guided by a coach
  • group therapy with a clinician
  • individual therapy with a clinician

The sessions can be in-person or virtual.

Clients may be referred to the program by a physician, nurse practitioner or other health care professional. In some areas, clients may self-refer.

For more information, including to learn if clients may self-refer, contact a regional lead organization that coordinates the delivery of the program. Each organization works with health care provider groups in their area to offer services.

Central

Toronto

West

  • OSP West (St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and St. Joseph's Health Care London)

East

North East

North West

Breaking Free

Breaking Free is a free online therapy tool designed to help Ontarians ages 16 and older reduce or stop the use of over 70 substances, such as tobacco, alcohol and drugs, including opioids.

Distress centres in Ontario

Centres are available 24/7 to offer confidential, private support for anyone who is feeling emotionally impacted, or in distress or crisis due to the challenges in the agricultural industry.

Connect with distress centres in your region:

If you prefer to have an email conversation, contact info@dcontario.org.

Resources for farmers

As a farmer, effective management of stress and mental health are important as they can impact yourself and your family, business and community.

Browse for specific resources based on topic:

Mental health

Do More Agriculture Foundation

The Do More Agriculture Foundation is a not-for-profit organization focused on mental health in agriculture across Canada.

Learn more about their work, and find crisis lines and mental health resources in Canada and in Ontario.

Farm Credit Canada

Visit Farm Credit Canada’s webpage with mental health resources including an assessment tool, personal stories and more.

Canadian Agricultural Safety Association

The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association is working towards making agriculture a safe and healthy environment to work and live in.

Check out their specific stress-related resources:

Canadian Mental Health Association

The Canadian Mental Health Association collaborated with agriculture industry leaders to develop a list of Ontario-specific mental health resources for farmers.

eMentalHealth.ca

eMentalHealth.ca is a website dedicated to improving mental health in youth and families.

Find mental health help in your area and access information on topics including stress, understanding mental health disorders, and strategies for caregivers.

Stress

Working in the agricultural industry can be both rewarding and stressful for farmers.

Farmers have a unique bond to their work which can make it difficult to identify and manage stress and accommodate the necessary self-care for managing stress.

Find more information on the signs of stress and strategies to deal with stress:

Financial stress

Financial stress can affect any business in any sector. The agriculture sector is unique because there are many factors outside the farmer's control such as crop losses, animal disease, or declining market prices.

Despite best efforts to mitigate these risks, they can cause significant financial stress for farmers and their families.

Farm business advisors

Having a trusted farm business advisor/consultant is a useful resource for any farmer.

A farm business advisor/consultant can provide factual results about the financial health of your farm and provide suggestions on how you can improve your financial situation or what options are available to you.

OMAFRA has created a fact sheet called "Choosing a business consultant" which outlines what questions you should ask any potential consultants as well as any agreements that should be signed.

Farm Financial Assessment

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, Ontario producers who are experiencing financial difficulty may qualify to access advisory services to complete a Farm Financial Assessment at no cost.

The Farm Financial Assessment:

  • provides a review of the farm business' past financial performance
  • provides an analysis of the current business climate
  • develops objectives and identifies options to meet profitability and sustainability goals

For more information, contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

Farm debt mediation

The Farm Debt Mediation Service offers financial counselling and mediation services to farmers who are having difficulties meeting their financial obligations.

It is a free and voluntary service for both producers and for creditor(s).

The service helps bring producers and their creditor(s) together with a mediator in a neutral forum to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

For more information, please call 1-866-452-5556 or visit Farm Debt Mediation Service.

Animal welfare

Caring for animals is a 24/7 job. When you are under stress, sometimes it can be difficult to manage all of the day-to-day farm activities, including providing adequate care for your livestock.

Farm and Food Care Ontario

Farm and Food Care Ontario provides a farm animal care helpline. It is a confidential "farmer helping farmer" approach of advice and referral on animal care. Get support with providing good care for your farm animals.

Calls received by the service are given to the appropriate commodity group(s) for follow-up.

Call the Farm Animal Care helpline at 519-837-1326.

Encouraging farmers to practice self-care