Mental Health in Action - Cervus Equipment
Creating a culture in agriculture where all producers are encouraged, empowered and supported to care for their mental well being can start when we relate to our current networks in new ways. Sometimes this means asking better questions, engaging in collaborative reflection, asking for help, or sharing your own personal story.
We have been asking our sponsors what they have been doing to participate in conversations surrounding mental health in their organization. We were so grateful to have had Dionne from Cervus Equipment answer some of these questions for us.
1. What does mental health mean to your organization?
Mental health means wellbeing. Mental health is critical to overall wellness.
2. What does mental health mean for the agriculture Industry?
For the Ag industry, it means reducing stress, asking for help, and creating support systems for families and individuals
3. Why do you think it’s important that your organization and others support the movement and conversations around mental health?
It is important for Cervus Equipment to support this movement because our staff talk to customer everyday and build relationships with farmers and their families. Our staff are also farmers and are affected by the ag industry so when it’s a low year, our customers and staff have increased stress. Our team needs to know how to manage stress and how to have conversations about mental health with customers and each other.
4. What does well being look like for your organization?
It looks like prosperity for our customers, and staff that love coming to work and love what they do. It also includes respect for oneself and others.
5. What do you consider are the barriers that your customers, clients and our producers face in terms of taking care of their mental wellbeing?
Stigma and years of misinformation. Many of our customers are of the baby boomer generation and mental health was not discussed, especially in a positive or accepting light. The worry of judgement is a huge barrier for many. Also, the lack of resources in rural areas. Many rural communities have poor internet connection and older farmers don’t have internet or don’t know how to use it to find information, so the availability is a challenge. Where resources are available, it may not be anonymous, and they may be hesitant to take information.
6. Do you as a leader feel equipped to have hard conversations around mental health in the industry?
Personally, I do to an extent. I don’t feel that many others are though.
7. What tools do you think could help you develop the confidence to have hard conversations around mental health?
Information availability. And more visibility. As a dealership, I would like to incorporate more mental health information into our customer training.
8. What do you think is the next step to supporting the mental wellbeing of those working in Ag?
I think having more champions of the cause the that can be feet on the ground talking about it. Do More Ag is doing great but it’s a small team and I think having a few more people available to talk about it that are within organizations would be beneficial.
9. If you could share one message to the agriculture industry about taking care of their mental health, what would it be?
Take a break. Many farmers work long hours without stopping, so really pushing the message of getting up and walking around, taking a lunch break with your workers even just for 15 minutes.