A researcher suggests mental health issues dog Canada’s agricultural sector and governments are poorly equipped to handle them. (iStock)

Canadian farmers facing more stress, mental health problems

Share

Stress, anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion and burnout are felt more by farmers and ranchers in Canada than by people in other professions, according to a university researcher. A survey of more than 1,100 farmers found 45 per cent reported high stress, 58 per cent had various levels of anxiety and 35 per cent reported depression.

New sources of stress

Pressure caused by weather and animal disease have troubled farmers for generations, but there are new sources of stress.

“Some of the animal disease outbreaks that we see, we see on a much wider scale now,” says Andria Jones-Bitton, a professor at the University of Guelph who has been studying farmers’ stress. “The financial pressures that farmers experience are certainly much higher than they’ve ever been. There’s more social isolation as farms have grown larger but also are more spread out so that some of the rural communities that used to exist don’t exist anymore.” What’s even newer, says Jones-Bitton, is stress caused by animal activists and criticism on social media.

Ranchers have to be on guard against disease. (iStock)

Farmers face obstacles to getting help

Because of scarce health resources in rural Canada and the stigma around mental health problems, many farmers have not been getting the help they need. Jones-Bitton says attitudes are changing and more farmers are seeking help. But she says, not enough are, there is still a lack of resources and health professionals sometimes don’t understand the nature of agricultural work enough to provide appropriate care.

One in eight Canadians work in agriculture and the agri-food industry, and the sector contributes over $100 billion to the country’s annual GDP. Jones-Bitton is advising governments on what she has found and urging them to provide more resources for the mental health of Canada’s farmers. “I think we’ve got a population here that provides an essential service to the country and we could do a better job of supporting  them.”

Prof. Andria Jones-Bitton describes farmers’ mental health issues and what’s needed to help them.

Listen

Share
Categories: Health, Society
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette
When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

One comment on “Canadian farmers facing more stress, mental health problems
  1. Avatar Ursula Wagner says:

    Unfortunately these fears for future because of climate change we find by farmers all over the world.

    Even worse in India were very many farmers don`t see any other way than suicide,
    but there pesticides are another main reason.