The Ontario government has committed $385,000 to expand “In the Know” to more communities in the province, in an effort to expand mental health support for farmers, their families, and employers.
In the Know is a made-in-Ontario mental health literacy program designed for the farming community. It officially launched in March of this year.
Currently, the program is offered at 16 Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) branches in rural and agricultural communities by approximately 30 facilitators.
The expansion of the program to more branches will help improve access to mental health supports in rural areas, reduce the stigma around mental health, encourage more open discussion, and help connect the farm community with the resources and support they need, the province says.
The province adds that farmers indicated in previous roundtables and conversations that they are more likely to open up about their mental health if they feel their counsellor or other mental health support understands the agricultural sector and the realities of farming.
CMHA Ontario will also use some of the funding to train and educate more mental health specialists on how they can better support farmers and the unique challenges they face.