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Discussion on mental health affecting farmers headlines day 3 of Agribition


Former National Hockey League (NHL) player Sheldon Kennedy took the stage at the Grain Expo at Agribition on Wednesday to tell his story about addictions and abuse.

Now a producer in Lucky Lake, Sask., Kennedy is hoping his story influences other producers to get help when they need it.

“It's about resiliency, it is about reaching out, it's about being connected and I think that will offer them a tool,” Kennedy said. “I think the more we hear this message, the more confidence we're gonna get in this space.”

Kyle Stewart, a cattle producer in Morse, Sask. said an isolated lifestyle puts producers at risk.

“There are days where you are sitting in a tractor for 12-18 hours by yourself and I mean, you can get thinking in your own head,” Stewart explained.

Stewart, who is a mental health advocate, said calling your neighbour to talk could have a positive effect on your mental health.

“You get a perspective of how maybe the problems they're dealing with that day, and sometimes they're a lot more worse off than you are and it kind of puts things in perspective for yourself,” Stewart said.

There are resources in the agriculture field that producers can utilize for their mental health including Sask AG Matters Network, a program that can provide free therapy sessions to those in need.

“We have the funding to provide six, one hour sessions for producers or family members, and no one knows about it, it is absolutely confidential,” Cynthia Beck, co director of the program said.

Even with successful programs, Kennedy said there is still work to in the country. He said that lots of times, people are told to talk about their problems but are not being helped with the right supports.

“When they do tell, I think that's something that we need to get better at as a country,” he said. Top Stories

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