(Rural Roots Canada) – Mental health is a critical issue for farmers in Alberta and elsewhere, but a new initiative aims to tackle those mental health issues head-on.

The uncertainties of the ag industry, social isolation, and the stigma surrounding mental health can be daunting realities for ag workers.

Enter AgKnow. AgKnow is a farm-focused initiative providing farmers with essential resources to support their mental health. They work with farming communities to identify ways to build resilience to ongoing stressors.

Linda Hunt, program director with AgKnow, says while they are still in the development stage, she understands there’s an immediate need for mental health resources and has listed some on their website already.

“We thought the thing we could do right away is why don’t we look around the province and try to identify those mental health therapists and programs that are already working for farmers and let’s put those on our website, so it’s easy for producers to find.”

READ MORE: Ag Thoughts with Emmett: Discussing Mental Health in Agriculture

The more significant challenge, however, is finding dedicated mental health and healthcare programs that target farm culture and ag workers as a demographic. Hunt says it has been a source of frustration for farmers.

“They’re like if one more therapist tells me to meditate and take a day off, it just doesn’t work when I have animals to take care of. It’s not strategies that work for us.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues related to farming, you can visit the AgKnow website at agknow.ca to explore their resources. You can also join the AgKnow community on the AgVisorPro App.

Whether accessing resources for yourself or pointing a farmer in the right direction, let’s do everything possible to create a more supportive and sustainable farming community.

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