By Mark Reusser Vice President, OFA
The quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” may resonate with farmers who are currently dealing with mental health struggles. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) understands how the pressure of keeping up with everyday responsibilities, along with stressors of a pandemic, can become overwhelming. Mental health is like a scale – balancing back and forth from mild to severe. Somewhere along the spectrum the weight becomes too much to handle and the ability for a person to properly take care of themselves is lost. Once someone is unable to care for their own personal wellbeing, they have little to give to others.
As farmers, we not only have families to take care of, but many have livestock as well. Oftentimes, when mental illness begins to take a toll on us, it creates a ripple effect that impacts many of our roles and responsibilities. Once the disease becomes crippling a farmer may lose their motivation to get up in the morning and complete everyday tasks, neglecting their livestock as a result.