Farm Credit Canada has extended and expanded its support for a program that provides rural and agricultural communities the ability to offer “mental health first aid training”.
Last year, with financial support from Farm Credit Canada, the Do More Agriculture Foundation launched a pilot program through its Community Fund for Mental Health First Aid, to provide agricultural communities across Canada mental health first aid training.
That program has been extended for a second year and Farm Credit Canada has increased its financial support for the program from 50 thousand dollars to 100 thousand dollars.
Glenda Heavisides, a Community Investment Consultant with Farm Credit Canada, says the goal was to help remove the stigma around mental health, build resilience and promote general awareness of mental health, encourage dialogue and enable people to seek support if they need it.
The program itself is a two day course and it is a certification provided at no cost to the participants. Our goals and objectives through there were really to get the conversation started and to create a network of volunteer lookouts that could really be part of that community and help identify if help was required and to direct those folks to more resources if they needed it.
The pilot year went great. The feedback Do More Ag received was very positive. There were over 100 communities that applied which was a clear indication that there was a need for the training. There are now 12 communities and 236 participants that received the mental health first aid certification and are now the volunteer lookouts for their community. We accomplished our goals through this, which was really to get the conversation started, provide more access to mental health literacy and to show people where resources were available.
~ Glenda Heavisides, Farm Credit Canada
For more information, visit domore.ag.