The Do More Ag Foundation has launched its second awareness campaign since forming back in 2017. It Starts With Me will focus on the language around mental health and how a small change of your words can have a huge impact on someone’s well-being.
“Our words can have such a powerful impact, whether verbalized to others, or from our own self-talk. Bringing awareness to the language we use will continue to help drive positive change towards decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health in agriculture” says Adelle Stewart, executive director for Do More Ag.
“Sometimes we don’t intend what we say or don’t yet have the tools to understand how we could rephrase when it comes to supporting people in a meaningful way. This campaign aims to bring awareness to the conversation, so individuals can continue to build capacity through their own reflections and improve our conversations surrounding mental health.”
The campaign video features common phrases heard or spoken within the agriculture community and suggests a more uplifting or caring message instead. For example, one might tell someone to “suck it up” if they were going through a rough time. Those apart of Do More Ag hope one could change that message to “It might not be easy, but it’s okay to get help.”
The push for a change in language partly comes from a study by Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton from the University of Guelph. She conducted a national survey of 1,100 producers from across Canada back in 2017 and found 35 per cent of Canadian producers could be classified as depressed, while 58 per cent of Canadian producers meet the criteria for anxiety.
Those who wish to participate in the awareness campaign are encouraged to do so by using the hashtag #ItStartsWithMe.