Why A Mental Health Month On The Impact Farming Show?

ThursdayThoughts ~ Late posting today. What a day. I recorded the last interview in our mental health series this afternoon in Winnipeg. It will air next Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Farm guys & gals, let’s chat about something that might be on your mind. Something that might be very real on your farm. #mentalhealthconcerns It’s been the focus of our Impact Farming Show for the last month.

So why did I take a full month of the show and dedicate it to mental health? Because it’s soooo important and still so misunderstood. It’s also been one heck of a year, and not in the good sense either. It is times like these when mental health becomes an even bigger concern in our agriculture communities.

I know many of us don’t like chatting about this. I understand. It’s uncomfortable.

Hang with me for a moment please….

Did you know? In the National Survey of Farmer Mental Health from Sept 2015 to Jan 2016, they surveyed farmers from across Canada. The results showed:

35% of respondents meet the definition for depression classification
45% of respondents were classified as having high stress
58% of respondents meet the definition for anxiety classification

Yikes. Let’s make those numbers come alive a bit more. I am not a stats person. Let’s give them a face. Simple. They are 35/45/58 % of your farming community 😱 That makes it a touch more real doesn’t it? Kind of hits close to home…a bit to close to home.

My goodness, right now at the end of November 2019, some farmers still have hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars worth of crop sitting in the fields. With nothing they can do about it other than sit, wait, try to plan, and pray. Many others were just finally able to get the crops off. Just by a hair. Anxiety and depression…you think? These are conditions that can financially devastate a farm. After one year, let alone several bad years in a row like many farmers have experienced now.

It’s hard to understand anything unless you have gone through it right? I think mental health is the same way. You can try to understand, however, it’s just really hard unless you know someone that has anxiety, depression or any other mental health condition. I was the same way. Thankfully, I have never gone through any serious mental health issues. It wasn’t until I had a few people come in and out of my life that struggled with anxiety and depression, that I finally took the time to learn.

I pride myself on my mental stamina and grit. I couldn’t fathom that people couldn’t just push through and get it done. Think positively. Try harder. Oh my innocence. Forgive me, I didn’t know 🙈 I will gladly throw myself under the bus and admit it because I know many people think the same way. Again, it’s hard to understand what you do not know and cannot see right? Trust me guys, it’s real. Let’s think about it. If it was that easy, don’t you think someone would just choose to stop being anxious or depressed? It’s not about mental strength either. They are strong. Goodness they are strong.

I think the stigma is changing. I really believe it is. Countless individuals and groups have been sharing and educating. Do More Ag was created and launched. Kuddos to that amazing group of guys and gals. They have forever changed our industry and so many lives for the better. They have already saved so many lives.

We also have people like Shawn Brook who are sharing their story. Did you catch this week’s episode? In it, Shawn shares the gut-wrenching experience that he and his family went through when his wife died by suicide. One of the biggest lessons that he learned from this life-changing event was that he didn’t know anything about mental health.

There is so much that many of us do not understand about mental health, and if we only took the time to understand, it can change our ability to be a support person for someone in your life,” said Shawn.

As I interviewed him he shared that growing up on a farm, he was taught hard work, persistence and the get it done attitude. Although admirable and much sought after, these traits and the corresponding mentality that develops runs entirely counter-intuitive for mental health conditions. Because he did not understand mental illness, he found himself falling back on that hard-driving mental conditioning and thinking thoughts such as;

“If you are not getting done the things you need to, you are lazy.”
“If you don’t want to talk about the things that are important to you, you are closed-minded.”
“If you are not where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there, you are a slacker.”

Shawn shares that the things he was taught on the farm served him very well to be successful in his life; however, they got in the way of him being there for his wife. That is why he shares his story.

So why do I dedicate the time on The Impact Farming Show? Because it’s important. Because we have the platform. Because our show is dedicated to bringing our audience the people and ideas that will IMPACT your farming operation. Mental health is one of those topics that affect farming operations. So let’s talk about it!

You can catch this week’s episode here. You really do not want to miss this episode, it could save a life…

To read this post and others, you can head on over to our NEW show blog by following this link below👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻

mentalhealthinag #domoreag #physicalhealthmatters #mentathealthmatters

healthyfarmer #happyfarmer #cdnag #agriculture #farming #farmlife