Meet the Board - Kim Keller
1. Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
Kim Keller. I farm with my parents and my brother in North East Saskatchewan. Growing up I didn't have any interest in farming or agriculture, in fact, you could say I even hated it. However in 2011 that changed and I started to transition back to the farm as well as cofound an AgTech start up called Farm At Hand. Upon selling Farm At Hand in 2016, I came back to the farm full time.
2. What originally sparked your interest in being an advocate for mental health?
During the fall of 2014 I heard of a farmer dying by suicide, and when I told our team at Farm At Hand about it, we decided to do something about raising awareness and money for the Farm Stress Line in Saskatchewan. We started a T-Shirt Campaign in 2015, and it was quite successful with the general public, but at that time only a handful of Ag companies would support it directly due to the stigma around mental health. In 2017 I was contacted by someone who had just lost a farming client to suicide and that sparked the creation of The Do More Agriculture Foundation, we just didn't know it then. The reaction from the industry in 2017 to the conversation around mental health was much different than 2015 - the industry was finally ready to talk and do something to support its producers.
3. Why is mental health important to you?
Mental health should be important to everyone - it is a part of each and every one of us, just like physical health. Being mentally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy in order to be successful in whatever we choose to do. We can't expect our operations to run at peak performance, if we ourselves are not.
4. What gives you the most hope for the landscape of mental health in agriculture?
The amount of conversations that are happening means that attitudes are changing and the stigma is being eradicated. That makes me happy and hopeful for where we are heading as an industry. This means we are breaking down the barriers and more people will start to access tools and resources available to them, as well as implement healthy coping strategies. Our industry will never be without struggles, barriers or stressors, but what we can do is learn how to better cope with them, and support each other through them.5. What does being a board member with The Do More Agriculture Foundation mean to you?
The fact that the industry is embracing and making these changes and making these conversations for awareness and skill building a priority is pretty incredible and I will be forever thankful that I have been able to play a small part in it.
6. If you could share one message with someone struggling, what would it be?
Even though it may feel like you are alone, you are not; you have an entire industry with you and we are all fighting for you.