Telephone mental health service now available for Ontario farmers
By Bree Rody
A new initiative for Ontario farmers and their families is now live. Any time or day of the week, farmers can access telephone mental health counselling in English and French.
Developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, this service is provided by LifeWorks. It is part of the Farmer Wellness Initiative, with funding from the provincial and federal governments. Up to four free counselling sessions for farmers are available per year. The professionals have received training to understand the specific needs of farmers in the province.
“The mental health of our farmers is a top priority for the Ontario Federation of Agriculture,” said Peggy Brekveld, president of the OFA, in a statement. “Getting this phone line operational is a big first step in a larger, multi-year program that will facilitate easier access to much-needed mental health services for all farmers and their families.”
The support line will enter callers into an intake process to arrange counselling sessions with a mental health professional available by phone, virtually, or in-person subject to public health restrictions. All information received through counselling sessions is confidential and in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (2004).