AgSafe has announced the AgLife Network as part of their commitment to and expansion of Mental Wellness in Agriculture resources. In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, AgSafe’s goal with the AgLife Network is the continued improvement of mental health and well-being resources, access to support, and building awareness around suicide prevention for British Columbia’s agricultural community.
In June 2023, the Province of B.C. announced funding to support the expansion of AgSafe’s mental health services in B.C.’s agricultural industry. With the funding delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, AgSafe, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division (CMHA BC), will be launching the AgLife Network, an initiative to build and implement a peer-support service focused on suicide prevention and life promotion.
Influenced by the Association Québécoise de Prévention du Suicide (AQPS) Sentinel program, the AgLife Network will be adapted to meet the specific needs of British Columbians. This includes training service providers to identify risks and intervention strategies, building a peer network of B.C. farmers and farm families with learned intervention skills, and providing supportive clinical counseling.
B.C.’s south coast has the most commodity diversity and the highest concentration of agricultural production in the province. As a result, the AgLife Network will be piloted locally in the region, with the intention of expanding the network across the province.
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, agricultural producers (farmers and ranchers) are especially prone to mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety and may be less resilient because of the unique stressors they experience. An estimated 225 million farmers worldwide struggle with their mental health.
AgSafe and CMHA BC are at the inception stages with the goal of launching more details about the AgLife Network by spring 2024.
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