Do More Ag, network continues to reach out
This morning the Alberta Farm Mental Health Network checked in with Lesley Kelly co-founder of the Do More Ag foundation. Do More Ag is a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.
Do More Ag was created in 2018 by two Saskatchewan farm raised women who saw the need for farmer focused mental health supports and have risen to the challenge. The foundation focuses on three pillars:
Awareness - education and conversations to reduce the stigma and increase help seeking
Community - creating a place for farmers to reach out and connect
Research - advocate and support farm mental health research projects
Do More has a few programs and initiatives on the go currently, one being a nation wide farm focused crisis line. The crisis line would offer immediate support to the caller and follow up with a course of action or resource linking them to local supports. Whenever possible the caller would be linked to an existing provincial farm crisis line as Do More is not interested in duplicating resources. Setting up national crisis line well linked in to local provincial services has been a challenge but they are making progress. The Network committed to helping Do More network within Alberta and told Lesley about the current Agriculture Service Board resolution advocating for this service.
Recently Do More has launched an agriculture mental health literacy program called AgCulture designed to help mental health practitioners understand and treat farm clients. To take the program, you must be a Registered Social Worker, Psychologist, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner or equivalent mental health professional with 5 years experience. The program is designed to take about 8 hours in total and consists of some pre-session readings and in person discussions.
Do More has been compiling a listing of farm focused mental health practitioners on their website, and is currently working on a searchable listing that will be offered free of charge to mental health practitioners who specialize in farm clients. A searchable listing is one of the desired outcomes of the FMHN and so will keep Do More in the loop as we move forward with conversations with the Psychologists' Association of Alberta.
The conversation ended with a commitment to keep in touch on a regular basis and cross promote the activities of the network and their partners and those of Do More Ag. Overall an excellent start to future collaborations.