Q & A: Meet the woman championing mental health for Canadian farmers
Lesley Kelly is pictured here in a photo from her blog, High Heels and Canola Fields.
REGINA -- Lesley Kelly is a speaker, podcast host, blogger, co-founder of the Do More Agriculture Foundation and creator of a blog called ‘High Heels and Canola Fields’. Kelly sat down with CTV Morning Live to discuss mental health on the farm, and the resources available to those who need them.
CTV: Tell us about your blog.
L.K. : I started the blog a few years ago in the hopes of spreading my love of food and farming, to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, and share everyday life on the farm.
CTV : Why do you think mental health is such an important aspect of farming?
L.K.: Mental health is very near and dear to my heart. Myself and those that I love have has mental health challenges or are living with a mental illness. I’ve had postpartum depression and my husband is living with anxiety that is mainly attributed to farm stress.
CTV: This year was a very difficult year for harvest. Did you have people reaching out to tell you that your blog has been there for them?
L.K.: It was a trying time, it was very, very dry and then in the harvest it got very wet. During that time we had a lot of phone calls and messages from people saying “Hey I don’t know where to go” or just looking for hope and encouragement that there is light, hope and it does get better.
CTV: What it like to know that there more awareness bring brought to this issue?
L.K.: It’s humbling and heartwarming. We’re on a really good path of destigmatizing mental health and mental illness. It’s great to see industry and society talk about mental health and the important of it.
CTV: What is your role with Do More Ag?
L.K.: I’m a co-founder of Do More Ag. It’s a not for profit across Canada and we are championing the mental health of our Canadian farmers. We’re trying to inspire them and encourage them to seek help and bring resources to agriculture.
CTV: A few years ago you won the Woman of distinction award for contribution to mental health in Canada. How did that feel?
L.K.: It was surprising but also, what an amazing experience to be recognized for hard work amongst women who are doing incredible things.
CTV: You actually make some shirts, and there’s some money being raised for a great cause with them.
L.K.: I just started to make some shirts, I sold out my first round and 100 per cent of the proceeds go to Do More Ag.
Shirts can be purchased here.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available.
Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645) or Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.