Farmers' mental health survey launched by University of Guelph researchers

Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph are asking farmers to open up about their mental health in a new online survey.

Survey hopes to reach 1,000 farmers before November closing

Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College are asking farmers to fill out a survey on their mental health. (The Associated Press)

A new online survey run by researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph is asking farmers to open up about their mental health. 

Andria Jones-Bitton, one of the researchers on the project, told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition they're hoping to get a sense of how agricultural producers are dealing with depression and anxiety, because mental health is not something farmers are eager to talk about. 

"We know that mental health is stigmatized in much of our population," she said. "Fortunately, that is getting better. But, that might not be the case in some of our agricultural communities. It would appear that some people look upon depression and anxiety as problems associated with having a poor worth ethic," she added.

Jones-Bitton says results from the survey will help researchers develop programs to support farmers. 

She says farmers face some unique pressures, like significant debt.

"They're also in occupations that are heavily dependent on things that are largely out of their control. So, if you consider things like weather or changing government climates--all of these can add significant stresses as well," she said. 

She hopes 1,000 agricultural producers will fill out the survey before it closes in early November.


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