Across Canada, farmers are experiencing declining mental health. Producers have higher rates of stress, depression and anxiety compared with the general population. The issue is so pervasive that it has been described as a mental health crisis. Efforts for improving the crisis have predominantly focused on increasing access to mental health care, providing education and resources, as well as campaigns aimed at reducing stigma, in addition to other efforts. While these efforts are crucial for improving the health and well-being of farmers, they remain focused on the downstream impacts of the problem and as such are inadequate to address the underlying or upstream causes of poor farmer mental health, particularly with regards to economic and financial uncertainty and climate breakdown. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the key upstream contributors to the mental health crisis in order to inform future research and policy action.
This report was drafted in collaboration with the National Farmers Union.