The Gleaner

Opinion: The psychological distress of producers

Now that it’s been over a year since the pandemic started, I have a special thought for people who are isolated. Of course, the elderly have suffered a lot from having very few visits and outings, but producers are also people who suffer from isolation. Due to the long hours that many work, they have little or no time for family or friends. This situation has existed since before the pandemic. A University of Guelph study of 1,100 farmers found that farmers experience higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression than the general population. Approximately 45% of the farmers surveyed were highly stressed; 58% and 35% had symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In Quebec, the Union des producteurs agricoles has hired several farm interveners. Like street interveners, they work preventively with farmers to detect signs of psychological distress. Professional workers who work with agricultural producers, such as veterinarians or agronomists, have also been trained by the Quebec association for the prevention of suicide.

Nearly half of Quebec farmers (46%) experience psychological distress at some point in their career. As a result, the suicide rate among farmers is high, twice that of the general population. To help people in this field, the Agir en sentinelle training program offers support to farmers, but above all, it gives them the resources they need to maintain good mental health.

If you are experiencing psychological distress, do not hesitate to seek help.

Agir en sentinelle-Agricultural Division: 1-866-277-3553.
Agriconseils network 
Monteregie East: 450 774-6383
Monteregie West: 450 427-2000, ext. 5130
Au Cœur des Familles Agricoles: 450 460-4632
Tel-Aide : 514 935-1101
Provincial suicide prevention hotline: 1 866 APPELLE (277-3553)

Kim Lamoureux, agr.,
Animal Production Advisor, Uniag Cooperative

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