The University of Guelph has found little improvement in farmers’ mental health since its first survey in 2016.
Michelle Thompson, speaking with CBC Radio Kitchener, said there has been an improvement in awareness, but not action in much of Canada. The survey taken between February and May last year found farmers’ mental health significantly worse than the general Canadian population.
In Ontario she praised the recently-launched Farmers Wellness Initiative.
The survey of about 1,200 farmers found three-quarters had some mental health issues and a quarter said life is no longer worth living.
Women reported more severe conditions across all categories, she said.
They are carrying extra challenges – child rearing, household duties, farm chores and often off-farm work.
COVID-19 has increased challenges, such as sick truckers delaying deliveries or reducing processing-plant capacity, more difficulties obtaining temporary foreign workers and home schooling.