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Upcoming webinar hopes to shine light on mental health in agriculture

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In partnership with the MD of Greenview Agriculture Department, the Resource Centre for Suicide Prevention is holding a webinar that is focused on mental health in the agriculture industry.

Tough Enough To Talk About It Program Coordinator Tracy Golnick says that the program began in the 1990s under the name Men at Risk. The program rebranded in 2016, as more female workers entered industrial industries.

“It is a locally driven program trying to create conversations in environments where they weren’t really happening. Male-dominated fields like trades, industry, and agriculture. Unfortunately in those industries it still isn’t considered normal to reach out, or talk about mental health,” she says.

Golnick feels that the conversations around mental health have changed for the better as the years go by.

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“There is more openness now to people regarding their mental health and society has become much more accepting than we were as a whole when we first started the program. One of the most positive things about the pandemic is that it has really shined a light on mental health and people are starting to normalize conversations around it too,” she says.

Golnick says that agriculture in particular can be a difficult industry to work in.

“A lot of times you’re isolated, sometimes you have a job that is fly in and fly out, long days, and working outside. They experience a lot of unique stressors that aren’t necessarily present in other industries,” she explains.

“Looking at statistics, we lose around 4,000 Canadians to suicide every year, with about 75 per cent of them being male. On top of that, there’s that culture that people working in those fields shouldn’t be talking about experiencing mental health issues.”

Golnick understands that anyone struggling with mental health can at times be uncomfortable reaching out for help.

“It’s okay to talk about it. A lot of times when we experience a tough time we feel we are in it by ourselves and nobody else experiences it. Once you do reach out for that help, you’ll quickly find that a lot of people are dealing with similar issues,” she adds.

The webinar is set for April 28th from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Registration can be made on the MD of Greenview website. Any other companies that are interested in the program can contact the Resource Centre for Suicide Prevention in Grande Prairie to set up a time.

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