One in three farmers met the criteria for depression in a survey of farmers across Canada. In this same survey, 40% of farmers reported they would feel uneasy getting help because of what other people think. But there are many supports available, and there shouldn't be a stigma on mental health. Farming has its own unique stresses, and Gateway is working to address some of these issues.
On Wednesday, January 23 a meeting hosted by Hensall Co-op saw over 100 poultry producers gather for a regional meeting where they discussed topics like chicken health, barn construction, market conditions, and even their own mental and lung health. Gwen Devereux, talked about the founding of Gateway, and some of the programs we have run to date. One such program is Lonely No More, an outreach program that targets isolated rural seniors that might be dealing with loneliness, and its affect on overall well being.
The talk with poultry producers was joined by Rose-Marie Dolinar by web conference. Rose-Marie has previous experience with this group, having conducted a Lung Health Study that investigated ways to improve proper respirator use (Results posted HERE). Rose-Marie is currently doing research on resiliency at the University of Calgary, and wanted to make an important distinction between mental health and resiliency.
Mental Health affects how we think, feel and act, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Resilience is the process of adapting well, "bouncing back" when significant sources of stress occur, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, threat of loss of livelihood.
There are many mental health resources available: talk with family, friends, health providers, faith leaders, and get lots of rest! If you become exhausted or depressed or have high levels of anxiety, get help immediately.
The path to mental wellness is achieved by taking time for yourself, making healthy choices and having supportive friends along the way. Do the activities you love, with people who make life fun, and acknowledge that we all need a little help sometimes.