New app being developed to help with farmers’ mental health

A new app is being developed in Saskatchewan to help farmers track their mental health and connect them with the necessary supports.

The app is being developed by Saskatoon-based Bridges Health, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Innovation Saskatchewan.

Innovation Sask CEO, Kari Harvey, says that the app will use the feedback of farmers to make sure it’s done right.

“We’ll be working with farmers and producers to understand, specifically, what types of questions will be most valuable in terms of tracking mental health,” said Harvey. “Then, also talking about what kinds of resources and supports are best served for individual farmers and producers.”

Harvey says the inspiration behind the app was simply based on the lack of mental health support for producers.

She adds that while there are mental health challenges in every industry, farmers, naturally, face a lot of unknowns.

“While we can’t really point to a single issue causing the greatest amount of stress, producers deal, on a daily basis, with a lot of uncertainty, and are faced with circumstances that are beyond their control,” said Harvey. “This can really increase some difficulty in doing business.”

Calls to the Farm Stress Line doubled in 2018-19 compared to the year prior.

Harvey says that now with COVID-19, new pressures are being placed on the ag sector, and she hopes this app can be another helpful resource for people in such an important part of the province’s economy.

“Hopefully this is a tool that will be rolled out across the province to help all producers,” said Harvey “Not only would we be helping Saskatchewan farmers and producers, this potentially could be a tool that a Saskatchewan-based company can take to other jurisdictions as well.”

As the winner of Innovation Saskatchewan’s Innovation Challenge, Bridges Health will receive $10,000 in funding and a 16-week trial and development period

More from 620 CKRM