Posted on 07/28/2016, 9:00 am, by Farmscape.Ca

Researchers with the UOG will use data collected from a survey of Canadian farmers on stress to develop new resources to help farmers cope with stress, anxiety, depression and burnout.

Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College surveyed over 11 hundred Canadian farmers about stress, anxiety, depression burnout and resilience.

Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Population Medicine at the University of Guelph, says the study found 45 percent of Canadian farmers are facing high levels of stress, 60 percent are dealing with some level of anxiety, 35 percent with depression and between 35 and 45 percent are demonstrating signs of burnout.

Right now this is providing good evidence for what people in agriculture and people who work with farmers have know anecdotally for some time and hopefully having some concrete data now will help in terms of resource planning.

We are starting the second phase of the research this fall and that is going to involve significant stakeholder engagement with producers, veterinarians, agricultural support staff, government personnel as well as our partners in mental health and together we’re going to develop two programs. One is a mental health literacy program. The second component to this research will be to create a mental health emergency response program.

When agricultural crisis hit we can proactively and quickly respond to the impact that that crisis might have on producer mental health. ~ Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton, University of Guelph

Dr. Jones Bitton says researchers will continue analyzing the data over the next six to ten months, looking to see if there are certain industry groups, certain provinces, certain lifestyle factors or demographic factors that might impact the risk of mental illness.