The good news is that mental health is something that is now being discussed more and more freely and being recognized as a legitimate workplace hazard in all walks of life including farming.
That said, as we deal with the fallout of COVID-19 and the months have turned into years, there are those in the agriculture community who are struggling with stress that aren’t ready to reach out and even if they wanted to, might not know where to start.
In fact, Covid may only be the tip of the iceberg, sitting on top of financial stress, equipment breakdowns, personal issues and everything else that can keep farmers up at night.
Fortunately, there is a resource that offers in plain terms the opportunity to gauge how your mental health may be impacting your life, valuable information to better understand mental health as well as a solid selection of solutions that may fit your specific needs.
Daily Chore: Handling Stress on the Farm
The Daily Chore: Handling Stress on the Farm was developed by The Agriculture Health and Safety Network of which WSPS is a part. It is a 16-page, brochure style document and a free download on the WSPS website. The following are a few key areas of this ag-centric perspective on mental health.
It opens with a section on stress that defines it and details the symptoms that can take their toll on your mental and physical health which may be a surprise to some. These include heart disease, weakened immune system and mental health disorders. It also categorizes stressors into physical, emotional and behavioural to help you identify any you may be experiencing.
Understand Your Personal Stress Level
It then features a personal survey that asks questions relevant to agriculture workers to better understand how much stress they are dealing with at any given time and scores it.
These include questions about debt load, production loss due to disease, delays in planting or harvesting due to weather and other stressors that are of concern to farmers along with more personal issues like feelings of isolation and personal conflict. In the least, it really highlights the numerous stressors that can impact us at any time and often on top of each other.
Moving along, The Daily Chore helps us measure how well we cope with stress. It then offers insight on a wide range of proven coping methods as well as a tool for us to detail our own specific concerns and ways for us to deal with them.
Finally, it has a list of resources to help us get the support we need to deal with stress including a number of ones based in Ontario. Take a look and see which ones best suit your needs.
To download this free resource visit: https://wsps.news/Stress