Prince Edward County to co-host mental health training sessions for farmers

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In a joint effort with Agriculture Wellness Ontario, Prince Edward County is set to host two comprehensive mental health training sessions aimed at supporting the local agricultural community.

Scheduled for Monday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 12, the full-day sessions will equip attendees with valuable strategies and tools to identify signs of mental distress, provide assistance to farmers at risk, and connect individuals with the appropriate mental health and crisis resources.

Conducted by the Guardian Network, a dedicated group of volunteer mental health advocates, the training workshop will facilitate peer-driven discussions and continuous learning opportunities for participants. The Guardians play a pivotal role in breaking down mental health stigma within agricultural communities by promoting access to mental health supports and Agriculture Wellness Ontario programs. Additionally, they foster meaningful conversations with farmers who may be experiencing mental health challenges.

Research findings reveal that almost 70 per cent of farmers are more susceptible to chronic stress compared to the general population, which can result in both physical and mental health issues. Alarmingly, 58 per cent of farmers meet the criteria for anxiety, while 45 per cent report high stress levels, and 35 per cent fall under the classification for depression.

The seven-hour training session will take place on Dec. 11 at the North Marysburgh Town Hall, and on Dec. 12 at the Ameliasburgh Town Hall. The in-person training will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes refreshments for attendees.

This crucial training initiative is open to individuals aged 18 and above who are likely to interact with farmers through their work, volunteer activities, or community involvement. Interested participants are encouraged to register in advance at https://bit.ly/3QgXAfD.

For further information about the Guardian Network or to address any queries, please contact Bethany Parkinson at 1.800.875.6213 or via email at bparkinson@ontario.cmha.ca.

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