Farm mental health program short on cash, says federation
Farmer Assistance Program may have to start charging fees
The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture is looking to the provincial Health Department to help it fund a mental health program for farmers and their families.
The Farmer Assistance Program, which has been operating for about 10 years, offers six sessions with a social worker or psychologist to deal with issues like stress, anxiety, depression or family conflicts.
Robert Godfrey, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, said currently the program is paid for by the federation and the Agriculture Department. But Godfrey said it is operating on a shoestring budget. Without more help the program could be forced to change.
"I think the program will remain as long as we can afford it," said Godfrey.
"If we can't come up with further numbers in the years to come, we may have to look at restructuring so someone might have to pay $10 or $20 instead of free, but I really hope that isn't the case. I hope that it continues to be a free service for farmers."
Godfrey said he's heard a lot of success stories from the program.
It helps about 100 Islanders a year, at least 1,000 since the program started.
The program is free for members of the federation, and pays half the counselling fees for non-members.
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