AGRI Committee News Release
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Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food
Comité permanent de l'agriculture et de l'agroalimentaire
For immediate release
THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD TABLES ITS REPORT ENTITLED "MENTAL HEALTH: A PRIORITY FOR OUR FARMERS"
Ottawa, May 28, 2019 -
Today, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food tabled a report on the mental health challenges faced by Canadian farmers, ranchers and producers. This is the Committee’s 16th report.
The report, Mental Health: A Priority for Our Farmers, includes 10 recommendations to better prevent the onset of mental health problems in Canadian farmers and better support those who face these challenges. This report was adopted unanimously, and some Committee members also presented a supplementary opinion to this study.
Unpredictable weather and environmental conditions, market fluctuations, debt and changing regulations are just some of the many uncertainties that put a lot of stress on farmers. Many feel isolated, work long hours and sometimes experience stigma, especially on social media, which intensifies their existing stress level.
Pat Finnigan, Chair of the Committee, said that “the hearings gave the Committee further insight into the various initiatives to support producers who face mental health challenges in Canada. The current initiatives, however, do not meet the mental health needs of farmers. Access to mental health care remains limited in rural areas, health professionals do not have a proper understanding of the unique challenges of farming, and current efforts to help farmers are not coordinated across the country.”
The Committee recommends that the federal government coordinate, at the national level, current initiatives and various research and prevention efforts focused on the mental health of farmers. The Committee also recommends providing more resources to address the root causes of mental health issues by promoting public awareness about the value of farming and giving the sector adequate economic support.
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