Agriculture stress is real and we need to keep talking about it

Photo by Alon, CC by 2.0.

The agriculture community is full of very strong-willed, independent people that excel at what they do. We also take pride in helping each other out. But the fact remains that farmers and ranchers fall short on identifying and discussing the need for help when it comes to mental health.

One of our industry’s greatest strengths is the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again. This resilience assists in battling unfavourable or untimely weather, markets going the wrong way, or any other variable that impacts agriculture. But it also is a problem.

When we pride ourselves on the “bulletproof” culture of “I can manage through anything,” we create a culture that looks at mental health challenges as weaknesses, as being soft. We equate the physical toughness of farmers to the mental toughness, but we forget that just like physical bumps and bruises, your mental state can also require healing.

Kim Keller (Twitter)

Kim Keller, Saskatchewan farmer and co-founder of Saskatchewan Women in Ag, has led a tremendous push on this traditionally untouchable topic.

Kim’s above tweet has gained her appearances on Global, John Gormley, CBC, CTV and other media outlets over the last week, discussing mental health in agriculture and how a change in culture is necessary.

Please listen to this discussion with Kim Keller about why mental health is so important to address in agriculture, why it’s so important to admit “hey, me too,” and where we go from here.

Kim’s tweet and the conversation coming from it has also spurred others, including Sandi Brock and Amy Matheson in their tribute to #Plant17, to keep the conversation going about mental health in ag and rural communities.

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