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Stronger Together: Stories of resilience from those affected by the 2021 Sumas Prairie floods
Langley, BC / January 30, 2023 – Today AgSafe released Stronger Together on their YouTube channel. Stronger Together is a mini-documentary about British Columbia’s Sumas Prairie farmers affected by the flooding that devastated many of the region’s agricultural operations in November 2021.
The video is part of AgSafe’s larger Mental Wellness in Agriculture initiative that encourages producers to reach out for help and offers mental wellness resources for the agricultural community.
The stories in Stronger Together are real and touching first-hand accounts of the psychological toll the floods and recovery have taken on many farmers and their families.
The video as a whole is a powerful look at how the people in one community have come together to support each other through a laborious, financial and mentally taxing recovery process. The stories and sharing of emotion are powerful and honest.
Premiering last week at the Pacific Agricultural Show, B.C.’s largest agricultural industry trade event, Stronger Together was produced with the support of the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Foods, Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and the Government of Canada.
On November 14, 2021, farmers, ranchers and growers in the Fraser Valley, Nicola Valley and Princeton experienced what would become one of the most devastatingly destructive events of nature to hit British Columbia’s agriculture industry. It would take many producers more than a year to even begin to recover.
The toll on agricultural producers’ mental health, and on the agricultural community at large, resulting from the many extreme weather events has been immeasurable. The 2021 floods significantly compounded the existing mental health crisis that the agriculture industry has been living with, and working to address for several years.
AgSafe encourages those in B.C.’s agriculture industry dealing with mental wellness challenges to reach out for help. Confidential resources are available on the organization’s website, AgSafeBC.ca/mental-wellness.
Wendy Bennett, AgSafe Executive Director -
“There is already a mental health crisis in Canada’s agricultural community. Events like wildfires, heat domes and floods only add to the crisis. With Stronger Together, we celebrate the resilience and support that is ever-present among B.C.’s agricultural producers and show the reality of how very challenging farming and farm life can be.”
Facts and Findings:
In 2021 (during COVID-19), Dr. Andria Jones-Bitton and her colleagues at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph conducted a second survey of farmers in Canada and found nationally:
- 20% met the classification for moderate to severe depressive disorders with 1:4 thinking of taking their own life
- 76% classified as experiencing perceived moderate or high stress
- 20% met the classification for moderate to severe anxiety disorders
- Farmers surveyed had significantly higher alcohol consumption than general public and a majority reported an increase in consumption since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
About Canadian Agricultural Partnership:
AgSafe is the non-profit health and safety association for agricultural producers in British Columbia providing site-specific consultation and on-site safety education, as well as online workplace safety resources and materials. AgSafe is also the COR Certifying Partner for B.C.’s agricultural and associated industries and offers a Certificate of Recognition (COR) program for large and small employers.
For more information about AgSafe services or agriculture-related workplace health and safety call 1-877-533-1789 or visit AgSafeBC.ca.