You can have both – Mental and Physical Health!
There doesn’t have to be a stigma of mental health on your farm. Workers struggle with good mental health more often than you think. According to a survey conducted by Morneau Shepell, they found that 33% of Canadian employees are now suffering or have suffered from a mental health condition, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. And another 27% are experiencing significant symptoms of stress. Of those surveyed, 58% said their productivity has been negatively impacted by stress at work, while 45% said they have thought about leaving their job due to workplace stress and the impact it was having on them.
Workers and farmers may hesitate to tell someone how they are feeling due to the stigma associated with mental health concerns. In the Morneau Shepell Survey mentioned above, 71% of workers surveyed mentioned they were concerned about the stigma surrounding mental health.
The stigma exists as a result of ignorance toward the topic, and negative connotation associated with poor mental health. As the head of your farm, you can change the stigma associated with mental health by becoming informed and in turn informing employees about mental illness. When there is understanding of a topic, there is typically less fear and a better perception toward the topic.
In part of creating a sustainable farm series, we looked at engaging the workforce. An engaged workforce will foster a healthy workplace environment which is supportive of mental health and communication of resources such as Farm Family Support Centre (1-844-880-9142) to ensure workers can reach out and get the help they need.
Training managers on Mental Health First Aid will help them identify the signs and symptoms of mental health distress, and provide them the resources needed to assist workers in getting the help they want or need.
Encourage owners or managers of the farm to become educated in mental health and foster a culture of good mental health on the farm will encourage employees to come forward and use resources available.
The Canadian Standards Association standard, Psychological Health and Safety for the Workplace, is a great resource in building a mental health program on your farm. Consider using this resource to educate yourself and workers and set up a mental health program on your farm.
Ensure resources such as Farm Family Support Centre (1-844-880-9142) are posted in prominent locations for workers to have easy access to information.