Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex is launching a new mental health awareness training program specifically for farmers and the agriculture community.
In the Know is a mental health literacy program developed at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph created specifically to educate the agricultural community. This half-day training program is being made available through CMHA-WECB thanks to a partnership of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), the University of Guelph and CMHA Ontario. Trainings will be delivered online until public health measures allow for in-person delivery.
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“CMHA-WECB is excited to be able to provide In the Know to our local agricultural community,” said CMHA-WECB Director, Communications & Mental Health Promotion, Kim Willis. “The program will give this community the opportunity to discuss mental health openly and safely. We believe In the Know, with its farming-specific scenarios that put mental health into perspective for agriculture workers, will resonate well and improve lives as a result.”
An evaluated pilot of In the Know training in 2019 showed the course increased participants’ mental health knowledge and confidence in recognizing mental health struggles, speaking about mental health, and helping others who are struggling. Spearheaded by Dr. Briana Hagen, Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton of the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, and a stakeholder team from farming and mental health backgrounds, In the Know aims to build mental health knowledge and increase help-seeking among farmers. The course provides education on topics such as stress, depression, anxiety, substance misuse and how to start a conversation around mental well-being.
CMHA Ontario is working closely with the OFA, the province’s largest general farm organization, to ensure maximum outreach and benefit to Ontario’s agricultural community via CMHA branches.
In the Know training is being made available through CMHA branches thanks in part to a generous donation from Trillium Mutual Insurance. Trillium contributed $50,000 through its ROOTS Community Fund, which supported development of a facilitator guide to equip facilitators to deliver training through local CMHAs.