AAFC announces over $1 million in funding for the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

With the growing season upon us, life is about to get incredibly busy for farmers across Canada. With the hectic pace of farming comes the pressure to juggle many aspects of running a business — and sometimes one of the first balls to drop is caring for our mental health.

In honour of Mental Health Week, Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), today announced $1.08 million in funding for the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Wellbeing (CCAW) through the AgriCompetitiveness Program, an initiative under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

CCAW is an organization that brings together national and global leaders in the mental health field to conduct cutting-edge research to develop evidence based, community informed programming and education to address wellbeing related challenges amongst Canadian farmers.

Briana Hagen, chief executive officer and lead scientist for the organization says, “the CCAW seeks to work with grassroots, community-based organizations across the country, to provide meaningful support of Canadian agricultural wellbeing.”

CCAW will use the funds to support activities aimed at:

  • Supporting the mental health of Canadian farmers, including support for mental health literacy education for agriculture educators across the country;
  • The development of a mental health toolkit to support the sector in case of catastrophic events;
  • Help industry further develop capacity throughout the sector; and,
  • Facilitate the sharing and expansion of national farm mental health strategies and resources.

The CCAW will also develop Canada’s first evidence-based agriculture literacy training program in collaboration with the Rural Physicians Society of Canada in order to deliver the training to rural physicians who interact with Canadian farmers and organize two national conferences that will enable mental health information sharing with stakeholders from across the sector.

The AgriCompetitiveness Program supports sector-led activities that identify industry best practices and build the capacity of the sector, advance farm business management, farm safety information and tools, as well as activities which raise agricultural awareness.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, or if you just need someone to talk to, AgTalk by the Do More Agriculture Foundation is available to Canadian producers. AgTalk is a free and anonymous mental health support community for members of the Canadian agriculture sector, and available in both English and French.

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