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Environmental Scan reveals lack of research exploring mental health and farm management

In response to new knowledge about the state of farmers’ mental health in Canada, Farm Management Canada is examining the connection between mental health and farm business management.

The goal of this research is to develop an understanding of the relationship between farm business management practices and farmer mental health. This question is being explored from both sides of the relationship. For example, how does effective farm business management impact or support farmer mental health? As well as conversely, how does mental well-being impact or support farm business decision-making?

The purpose of the Environmental Scan was to provide a review of the existing research and programs across Canada and around the world relating to farmer mental health and farm business management, and to identify and leverage any existing research connecting the two.

The Scan includes information on mental health, farmer mental health, stress factors, farm business management practices, decision-making, and more specifically, how these topics relate to one-another.

The insights gathered from the Scan are being used to inform the next phase of this project, which involve a nationwide survey, focus groups and one-on-one interviews. The Scan also identifies knowledge gaps beyond the scope of this project that may help inform subsequent research.

Results reveal there is likely an inherent connection between mental health and managing the farm, but this link has not been explored in research.

Three main gaps were identified for further exploration:

Gap 1: The limited scope of research related to mental health in Canadian Agriculture

Gap 2: The connection between mental health and farm management

Gap 3: The effectiveness of mental health support programs & resources.

Please click here to access the Environmental Scan and learn more about existing research and programs across Canada and the world, and the gaps which we will be exploring further.