Mental Health

The mental health of all farmers and farm workers matters. The NFU advocates for system level changes that elevate farmers’ and farm workers’ health in all its forms.

The mental health of farmers and farm workers is critically important to the National Farmers Union.  As a farmer- and farmworker-led organization, it is us, Canada’s farmers and farm workers, who are looking for ways to support each other through the challenges of farming and who are working toward solutions to the systemic issues that undermine our mental health.

The NFU does not offer personal farmer wellness counselling, but we do celebrate all of the initiatives across the country where farmers can access counselling.  These are listed below.  Please use these counselling services as you need them — there is nothing to be gained by not exploring these opportunities.

The NFU focuses on policy and solutions to the issues that make farming and farm work unsustainable.  We are proud of the Oct. 2023 report, Field Notes: Looking Upstream at the Farmer Mental Health Crisis in Canada.  We encourage everyone to read it and to share your feedback.

The NFU Mental Health Working Group meets regularly to discuss how to best advance systemic solutions for farmer mental health.  NFU members are welcome to join that group. Email with your interest.

Here’s to good health for all farmers and farm workers!

Field Notes: Looking Upstream at the Farmer Mental Health Crisis in Canada | October 2023

NFU farmers inform the conversation about the systemic issues that undermine farmers mental health and how to address them.

Field Notes: Looking Upstream at the Farmer Mental Health Crisis in Canada

The NFU’s Mental Health Working Group announces the co-publication of a new report on the upstream impacts on farmers’ mental health. Recent efforts to provide mental health supports are crucial for the health and well-being of farmers; however they remain focused on addressing the downstream impacts of the problem and not the underlying or upstream causes of poor farmer mental health. This report, by NFU Mental Health Working Group Chair, Zsofia Mendly-Zambo, PhD candidate  at York University, provides an overview of the key upstream contributors to the mental health crisis to inform future research and policy action. This report is being released in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). 

To understand the key underlying or upstream causes of poor mental health in the farming sector, a literature review followed by interviews and focus groups with members of the National Farmers Union (NFU) was conducted. Participants who were not able to attend focus groups were invited to contribute input via survey (total n=21).

At the heart of the farmer mental health crisis is the farmer income crisis and pervasive economic uncertainty and precarity. Key factors contributing to economic precarity of farmers and farm workers include unfettered corporate concentration in the food sector, consolidation and financialization of farmland, climate change, and trade liberalization. Input from the National Farmers Union revealed additional factors contributing to poor mental health including economic and knowledge barriers to farming, intensified political polarization within rural communities, racism, and violence against women. Burnout and lack of ancillary and core healthcare services were also noted contributors to stress.

Based on these findings, this report makes Six Recommendations:

  1. Implement policies which enhance economic stability for farmers and farm workers
  2. Continue and enhance supports to farmers transitioning to sustainable farming practices
  3. Include food sovereignty in the federal goals for agriculture
  4. Rebuild rural infrastructure
  5. Address on-going discrimination and violence in the farming sector
  6. Expand access to mental health care for farmers and support existing farm organizations that are providing support, advocacy, and research.

Meaningful action is needed to improve the living and working conditions of Canadian farmers. A comprehensive approach that considers the upstream drivers of farmer mental health will help foster a more resilient and sustainable agricultural sector while improving the well-being of farmers across Canada.  We invite all Canadian farmers to join us in this work.  In fact, taking action to address the problems we are facing has been proven to be good for one’s mental health!

Other Mental Health Resources


Government of Canada Standing Select Committee ReportReleased in 2019, “Mental Health: A Priority for our Farmers” report outlines 10 recommendations for attention.

National Survey of Farmer Mental HealthConducted by Dr. Andria Jones-Britton in 2018 involving over 1,000 producers across Canada.

Healthy Minds, Healthy Farms: Includes a media kit, a report on mental health, and farm business management.

Rooted in Strength: Mental Health Resources to Take Care of Our Families and OurselvesProvides an overview and assessment tool to support famers to identity and manage sources of stress and mental health resources.

4-H Canada’s Healthy Living Initiative: Includes a series of resources and activities regarding farming and mental health.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safe: Infographic on farming and mental health statistics in Canada.

Black Mental Health Canada: Exists to provide access to affordable mental health services and education for the Black community

Phone: 1-888-220-2510

Emergency Response Model for Mental Health During Agricultural Crises: This document outlines evidence-informed recommendations for attending to farmer mental health during times of agricultural crisis (e.g. animal disease outbreak) or disaster (e.g. barn fire). These guidelines are intended to help agricultural organizations, communities, and government best support farmers, farm families, and agricultural communities as they work through agricultural crises and disasters

Do More Agriculture Foundation: Do More Ag is a not-for-profit organization focusing on mental health in agriculture across Canada.

British Columbia

Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression

CRISIS Centre BC: 24/7 mental health support. Services available for youth and adult, online chat and telephone options.

Phone: 310-6789

Legal Services Society: Legal aid services for all British Columbians.

Phone: 604-601-6000 ex 523

FAMILY SUPPORT INSTITUTE: Supporting families who have a family member with a disability. Communication available through telephone, email, text, or online video meetings.

Phone: 1-800-441-5403

BC Government:  Access to a range of federal, provincial and community-based program services for low-income individuals and families in British Columbia including income, healthcare and mental health.

Text: 1-604-660-2421
Phone: 1-800-663-7867

AgSafeAims to create a safe and healthy work environment in BC agriculture through outreach and an active program of education, training, and consultation in all regions of the province.

Phone: 1-877-533-1789

Stigma Free Society: Provides programs regarding the education about stigmas with an emphasis on mental health and peer support for those facing mental health challenges with a special focus on youth.


Mental Health Hotline: 24/7, confidential and anonymous support for those dealing with an individual, family, or community crisis. They also provide information about mental health programs and services.

Phone: 1-877-303-2642

211 Alberta24 hour service providing information for social and community services including counselling, financial, and legal resources.

Phone: 2-1-1
Text: INFO to 211

Legal Aid Alberta: Provides affordable legal services in family law, domestic violence, child welfare, immigration, and youth and adult criminal defence. 

Apply over the phone M-F 8:15-4:15: 1-866-845-3424

Alberta Seed Guide: Informative article about mental health and Alberta farmers.


Saskatchewan Farm Stress Line: – you don’t need to be in crisis to call. If you’re feeling stressed and simply need someone to talk to, it’s a good time to dial the toll-free, 24-hour service.

For more information, contact your local regional office or the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377.

Healthline: Confidential 24 hour health information and support service. HealthLine can also provide mental health and addictions support. Read Healthline’s Farm Family Stress pamphlet for more information.

Phone: 811

PLEA (Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan): Provides legal information and law related education.

Phone M-F 8:30-4:30: 306-653-1868
Or contact them through their website.

211 Saskatchewan: Resources on mental health, community programs, youth, and income support. Can also call, text, or web chat for more information and support.

Phone: 2-1-1
Text: 211


COVID-19 Information for Manitobans

Manitoba COVID-19 Information for Businesses

Manitoba Farm, Rural Support & Northern Support Services: Free, confidential and anonymous telephone counselling for anyone on a Manitoba farm, rural, or Northern community.

Phone: 1-866-367-3276

Legal Aid Manitoba: Provides free or affordable legal services for low-income adults, youth, and public interest groups. Apply online.

Phone: 204-985-8500

Community Financial Counselling Services: Credit counselling agency that can help get a hand on debt. They offer free counselling services and a free Debt Management Program.

Phone: 1-888-573-2383

Manitoba Farm Safety: Provides specific resources, support, and guidance to help farmers become aware, compliant, and able to ensure healthy and safe workplaces.

Telephone: 1-204-697-1140


ConnexOntario: Information and referral service focused on mental health. Call, chat, or email 24/7, 365. All conversations are confidential and anonomous.

Phone: 1-866-531-2600

Pro Bono Ontario: Legal advice hotline that helps connect volunteer lawyers with those who cannot afford a lawyer. Can help with employment, housing, powers or attorney, or corporate law. Their brocure is here.

Phone: 1-855-255-7256

LEGAL AID ONTARIO: Provides services with criminal legal issues, domestic violence, family legal issues, mental health, and immigration.

Phone: 1-800-668-8258

Ontario Health and Wellness: Resources for health care services and advice, including help for addictions or mental illnesses.

Telehealth: Fast, free, medical advice.

Phone: 1-866-797-0000

Mental Health for Farmers: First Aid Kit: Provides information on stress, animal welfare, financial stress. Provides stress mitigation resources.

Ontario 211: Find programs and services in your community. Search the website, call, email, or live chat.

Phone: 2-1-1
Email: 2-1-1

Dairy Farmers of Ontario Mental Health Resource Database

Talk4Healing: is a culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages across Ontario.


COVID-19 – Questions-réponses pour les clientèles​ du MAPAQ

E Mental Health: Vous cherchez des informations sur la santé mentale, mais où trouver de l’aide? eSanté fournit des informations anonymes, confidentielles et dignes de confiance, 24 heures par jour, 365 jours par an.

Resources for counselling, financial, legal assistance and support groups.

COMMISION DE LA SANTE MENTALE DU CANADA: Cette ligne est accessible 24/7 partout au Québec. Vous pouvez également clavarder avec un intervenant du mercredi au dimanche de 16 h à 23 h à partir d’un ordinateur via le site web Français seulement.

Téléphone: 1-866-277-3553

Commission des Services Juridiques (Legal Aid): La Commission des services juridiques est l’organisme responsable de l’application de la loi sur l’aide juridique et de la prestation de certains autres services juridiques au Québec. Ils fournissent une aide juridique accessible à toute personne éligible qui en fait la demande.

The Commission des services juridiques is the agency responsible for enforcing the law on legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services in Quebec. They provide legal aid is accessible to any eligible person who requests it.

Téléphone: 514-873-3562

La Financiere agricole QuebecProgrammes et assistance concernant le financement agricole, l’assurance et la protection du logement. Contactez par e-mail via le site Web.

Programs and assistance regarding farm financing, insurance, and home protection. Contact by email through website.

Téléphone: 418-834-6857 ext 6438

Financial Support for Aspiring FarmersRessources et financement pour les jeunes producteurs souhaitant s’établir sur une ferme existante ou démarrer une nouvelle entreprise.

Resources and funding for young producers looking to establish themselves on an existing farm or start a new business.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis Line:  24/7 crisis line available for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or someone concerned about someone who is.

Phone: 1-888-439-8167

Family Law Nova Scotia: Provides support for family law issues, and offers tools to allow you to navigate all available options.

Phone: 902-424-5232

Nova Scotia Health Authority: A very comprehensive list of programs and services pertaining to physical and mental health.

Farm Family Support Center: Farmers and their families are entitled to up to 3 hours of service at no cost. Professional help regarding mental health, relationships, finances, or legal.

Phone: 1-844-880-9142

Farmer Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: Farmer Specific Resources regarding mental health. List of support groups included.

Farm Safety Nova Scotia: Works with Nova Scotia farms to keep farmers, their families, and their employees safe. Helps provide access to the tools and resources they need to operate safe and productive farms.

We Talk, We Grow: is an initiative of Farm Safety Nova Scotia raising awareness and taking action to protect and nurture the mental health and well-being of Nova Scotia’s farming community, and enhance and maintain a culture where mental health is valued, prioritized and protected.

New Brunswick

Farm Talk Care. Ferme Parle Soins. A farmers wellness and
peer support program and network. Programme de bien-être des agriculteurs et soutien par les pairs.

Lignes directrices sur la COVID-19 à l’intention des entreprises

New Brunswick Legal Aid Services CommissionThe NBLASC provides legal assistance to low income individuals for certain family and criminal matters.

La CSAJNB fournit une aide juridique aux personnes à faible revenu pour certaines affaires pénales ou qui relèvent du droit de la famille.

Phone: 506-444-2776
Email EN:
Email FR:

CHIMO Helpline: Crisis phone line accessible 24/7, 365. They provide a listening ear, helpful information, and referrals to resources. Services are bilingual.

CHIMO est une ligne téléphonique de crise accessible 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, 365 jours par an. Ils fournissent une oreille attentive, des informations utiles et des références aux ressources. Les services sont bilingues.

Live chat 5pm-12am daily.
Phone: 1-800-667-5005

TeleCare 811: Free and confidential health advice and information line. Talk to registered nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services are billingual.

Conseils de santé gratuits et confidentiels et ligne d’information. Parlez aux infirmières autorisées 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7. Les services sont facturés.

Phone: 811

Agriculture NB: A comprehensive list of social and financial programs for agri-business in New Brunswick.

Une liste complète des programmes sociaux et financiers pour l’agro-entreprise au Nouveau-Brunswick.

Prince Edward Island

Farmer Assistance Program: Confidential, 24/7 professional counselling service for farmers and farm employees. Free to members of the NFU in PEI and PEI Federation of Agriculture.

Phone: 1-800-736-8006

The Island Helpline: Free, 24/7, billingual, confidential supportive telephone service.

Phone: 1-800-218-2885

PEI Legal Aid: Provides legal representation and assistance to low income inviduausl who have legal needs in the areas of criminal law, youth criminal justice, or family and civil law.

Phone: 902-368-6043 (Charlottetown)
Phone: 902-888-8219 (Summerside)

Farmers Talk: Support and resources provided to farmers, producers, and family members who are feeling high levels of stress, burnout, depression, or anxiety.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Eastern Health: A comprehensive list of social and community resources, as well as links to assist in physical and mental health.

24 Hour Mental Health Crisis Support: 24/7, free phone line if you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis.

Phone: 1-888-737-4668

Public Legal Information Association of NL: An independent non-profit organization and registered charity dedicated to educating Newfoundlanders and Labradorians about the law, with the intent of increasing and improving access to justice.

Phone: 1-888-660-7788

811 HealthLine811 is a confidential and free telephone line available to all residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, 24/7, 365.

Phone: 811

Newfoundland Mental Health and Suicide Prevention:Farmer specific resources and a comprehensive list of support groups.