ARTHUR – A Nov. 22 event being hosted by the Upper Grand and Mount Forest Family Health Teams will go beyond asking “how are you?”
Part of the “Do More Ag” initiative, the “Talk. Ask. Listen” event will bring farming and mental health together in a workshop at the Arthur county library branch (110 Charles Street East ) from 10am to 3pm.
According to a press release, the workshop has been created “by farmers for farmers.”
“Rural health care providers understand that the farming community today is experiencing things differently than earlier generations,” states the release.
Balancing family, business, finances, off-farm income and succession planning on top of everything else can take a toll, organizers say.
Complexities in farming aren’t well understood by most people; those connected to agriculture get it and are navigating the impact, organizers add.
Anyone in farming, producing, supplying, harvesting, driving, or caring for animals —including family members — are being encouraged to register.
“When I reflect back on my own childhood growing up on a family run dairy farm, I marvel at how much things have changed in agriculture,” stated Mount Forest Family Health Team lead Elsa Mann in the release.
“The expense of the land today, equipment, the cost of inputs, coupled with the impact of changing climate are pressures that increasingly cause strain on our agricultural producers.”
With global unrest also factoring into concerns about life and business at home, Mann said it’s understandable mental health is being negatively affected.
“It’s still a work in progress for us to talk about our feelings and stressors in the ag community,” Mann said.
“It takes effort to go beyond the tough talk responses and share what’s really going on inside.”
Having a local session on mental health for rural agricultural workers is “so important,” Arthur Family Practice physician Dr. Paul Jones stated in the release.
The workshop will help people understand how to make a positive change and to know when to reach out for help, Jones said.
Organizers want people to know there is hope and help when things become overwhelming.
“If we notice that something is off with someone, there’s ways we can ask questions and listen, which encourages honest
conversation; it’s something we have to practice, but we can all learn to do it,” Mann stated.
To register for the workshop, visit eventbrite.ca/e/talk-ask-listen-in-arthur-on-tickets-742469986717 or contact Elsa Mann by calling 519-321-1181.