Mental health 'toolbox' for farmers launched in Listowel
WINGHAM, ONT -- In 2012, Dustin Connell’s father died, but he never really got time to grieve.
“With the farming world, you can’t just take time off. You had to actually take more work on to fill some shoes, and carry everything on,” says Connell.
It wasn’t until last year, his father’s death really hit the young Listowel area farmer.
“I felt like I was alone. I thought no one else was going through the same thing, but after finding out I wasn’t alone, it helped me,” he says.
Being vulnerable enough to be honest about his mental health struggles was what helped bring Connell out of the dark.
He and several other Listowel area farmers are now showing their vulnerable side for a new initiative called 'The Farmers' Toolbox.'
Put together by the Listowel Agricultural Society, farmers can go on an online portal to access mental health help in their community
“I don’t think farming is going to get any easier in the near future, but what we can do is improve our resiliency. But, we can only do that when we have access to tools and services to do that,” says Alanna Coneybeare, of the Listowel Ag Society.
About $13,000 raised from the Dinner on Tremaine fundraiser, helped pay for the new mental health initiative.
Coneybeare says anyone can access the help, but hopes farmers specifically take advantage of the targeted mental health resources.
“Along with the stigma that exists in most sectors, we’re geographically isolated. Our schedules are more fluctuating and turbulent, so even when we identify that we do want to access those resources, those lived in situations make it more difficult,” says Coneybeare.
The Farmers' Tool Box has only been live for a couple of weeks, but already farmers have been reaching out, that otherwise, may not have.
“I’ve been contacted by multiple people asking either how I’m doing, or telling me how they went through their own struggles, so you’re not alone. The more people talk about it in the farming community, the better it will be as time goes on,” says Connell.