Engaging with Your Environment

Mental health involves our environment, genetics and our actions to include the physical, mental and social components.  Dr. Bill Howatt from Howatt HR states, genetics makes up about 50% of our mental health equation.

Focusing on the environmental component of mental health, our mental health can be influenced by many different factors such as life experiences, the workplace, and our social economic conditions.  These factors can be more important than health care or lifestyle choices on mental health.

Our job and financial health are the top determinants to putting our mental health at risk.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been great uncertainty with our jobs, finding workers to work on farm, and in turn questioning the financial health of the farm due to lower yields or crops left in the field as well as the cost of supplies and the ability to sell product.

The three most impactful social determinants are freedom, social inclusions, and access to economic resources.  Different people and communities are impacted by all determinants in various ways which can lead to health inequities.  On the farm, policies, support options, social connections as well as training and education can influence your mental health.

Four micro skills to consider for engaging with your environment include life checkup, see something – say something, self-care basics, and knowing your community resources.

Life checkup refers to things like checking in on farm and equipment insurance, ensuring things are safe, life insurance, and making a last will in testament.

See something-say something involves speaking up or getting help when needed rather than suffering from the bystander effect.

Self-care involves regular medical checkups, knowing how to use the employee assistance program or Farm Family Support Center, and financial stability.

Know and use your community resources such as the Farm Family Support Center (1-844-880-9142 or workhealthlife.com) and the Mental Health Crisis Line (1-888-429-8167) as well as community groups, friends, and family.

How would you rate the following on a scale of 1 to 10?

  1. Psychological Safety
  2. Physical Safety
  3. Food Security
  4. Job Security
  5. Financial Security
  6. Housing Security

If a score of less than 7, where 7 is OK, is achieved in any one of the 6 categories, it indicates worry or becoming worried.  Work out how to action the item to bring up the score to then be able to work on improving mental fitness.

Visit maintainingmentalfitness.com for more resources in tactics to maintaining mental fitness during COVID-19.