The provincial government has announced an additional $388,500 in funding to support farmers’ mental health in Alberta.
The funds will support the AgKnow Alberta Farmer Mental Health Network, which provides therapists which specialize in the psychological challenges facing farmers and provides workshop and other resources in the area of farmers’ mental health.
The AgKnow Alberta Farmer Mental Health Network was established in 2022 with a $524,500 Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) grant. Since AgKnow’s launch, 12 agriculturally-informed therapists and counsellors have provided mental health support to 39 farm families.
In 2023, AgKnow hosted more than 24 workshops and webinars, targeted at either the farmers it serves or the therapists it hires and has reached more than 1,500 people.
The most recent funding will go toward developing, promoting and delivering more evidence-based mental health programs, tools and learning resources to help farm families and farming communities thrive. As well as education and learning resources to help therapists, health care providers and community service organizations understand farm culture, the issues farmers face and the supports available to address mental health concerns.
“It’s essential for AgKnow to continue bringing awareness on mental health and help farm families get the supports they need to manage life’s stressors," said R.J. Sigurdson, Minster of Agriculture and Irrigation in a press release on Monday. “This funding will help advance farm mental health research and education, while providing more resources for farmers and farm families.”
This grant funding is provided through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP).
Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-28), $3.5-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation and resiliency in the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.