P.E.I. sees increase in number of farmers seeking mental-health support

·1 min read

More farmers are reaching out for mental-health support, the province says.

In 2019, P.E.I.'s farmers assistance program, which offers free counselling, received 140 calls.

In 2020, that number jumped to 293.

Bloyce Thompson, a farmer as well as P.E.I.'s minister of agriculture, said the increase is both good and bad.

He said navigating a hot, dry summer during the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for farmers, but it's good to see people reaching out for help. Thompson said he is not surprised by the numbers.

"Being a farmer, you have to be the most resilient people on Earth, I believe, from my experience of being a farmer," he said.

"The things that are out of your control in the agriculture industry, from Mother Nature to the financial markets, that adds up sometimes and this year was particularly tough."

The counselling is free for farmers, their families and those who work in the industry. Thompson encourages farmers to continue using the service.

"You're not alone in this situation, so by all means, reach out," he said.

More information is available at FarmersTalk.ca.

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