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‘Help is available if someone needs it’: Farmer Wellness Initiative focuses on helping farmers in need

Reference: CTV News

A telehealth line that makes mental wellness support available to Ontario farmers and their families is now live.

The new line is part of the Farmer Wellness Initiative (FWI), which addresses growing mental health concerns in the agricultural sector and offers accessible mental health supports.

“The mental health crisis in the agricultural community has been well documented in recent years and the Farmer Wellness Initiative fills a critical gap for farmers and their families across Ontario,” Peggy Brekveld, farmer and president of the Ontario federation of Agriculture (OFA) said in a media release. “Bottom line – if you’re part of a farm family in Ontario and need mental health support for any reason, this telehealth line is available to you.”

OFA has partnered with the Canadian Mental health Association (CMAH) - Ontario Division and Lifeworks to develop and launch the initiative. It is the first step of a multi-year, province-wide program that provides free counselling services virtually, in-person and on the phone by professional counsellors with agricultural backgrounds.

The helpline is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in English and French, as well as up to 30 other languages.

“We want to make as many farmers and their families as possible aware of this new service and that help is available if someone needs it, regardless of their farm organization membership or affiliation,” said Bruce Buttar, OFA director and chair of the Farmer Wellness Initiative Advisory Committee. “We’ve been developing many resources to help break the silence around mental health, including the new FWI website that helps people identify when they might need help and what happens once they pick up the phone to make that first call.”

The mental health helpline for farmers can be reached at 1-866-267-6255. Additional resources can be found on the Farmer Wellness Initiative website... Read More