Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau encouraged Canadians to take the time to reflect on mental health and to continue this conversation throughout the year.
In a statement on Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bibeau said, “Producers across Canada are working tirelessly to ensure that we and our families can have food on our tables. Despite long hours, labor shortages and extreme weather conditions, they face the challenge of uncertainty every day.
“Today we mark Bell Let’s Talk Day, an opportunity for us to speak openly about mental health and work together to break the stigma. It’s a message that resonates more than ever, as the ongoing pandemic continues to test us all. Sometimes even the strongest find themselves at the end of their tether. In times like these, it takes strength to ask for help. And sometimes the simple act of listening can do wonders for a stressed person.
As Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Member of Parliament for a region with many rural communities, Bibeau said she is fully aware that even in the best of times, agriculture and food production can be demanding and exhausting. “I have spoken with many growers who are facing challenges – from the pandemic to child care, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, weather disasters, barriers just to name a few. On top of all that, farming and food production is a 365-day-a-year job. I also know that farmers and their families are used to taking a lot on their shoulders.
She went on to say that the Canadian government is working to break taboos around mental health, supporting a number of resources to reach out to Canadians.
“Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, we work with provincial governments to ensure farmers have access to the tools they need to support their well-being. Going forward, mental health will continue to be an important part of the next agriculture policy framework, which is due to begin in April 2023.”
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