• Agronomic Insights, WUC - Insights
  • May 10, 2023

Journey 5km By WinField United Canada: Supporting Mental Health in Canadian Agriculture

Journey 5km
Spring brings renewal to the agricultural industry, but it can also bring stress and burnout. That's why, for the past three years, WinField United Canada has organized the Journey 5km run/walk—an event that raises funds and awareness for mental health and the Do More Agriculture Foundation.

Journey 5km welcomes everyone! Annually, participants simply sign up, run or walk 5km, and engage in open discussions about mental health while connecting with loved ones, friends and co-workers.

A Community United for a Cause
The 2023 Journey 5km which took place from April 27 to May 4, 2023, was a roaring success! Over 650 enthusiastic participants came together to make a difference. This year's event raised an impressive $20,500, bringing the grand total to $48,000 raised for Do More Ag since 2021. The unwavering support from the Canadian agriculture community is truly remarkable.

Prioritizing Mental Health in Agriculture
Partnering with Do More Ag was a no-brainer. As a national voice and champion for mental health in Canadian agriculture, they are transforming the industry's culture by encouraging everyone to seek support and prioritize their mental well-being. They educate on what it means to be truly healthy and build community connections while providing relevant and accessible resources.

Mental health services and supports are often challenging to access in rural and remote areas. Do More Ag aims to bridge this gap and provide farmers and their support networks throughout Canada with the help they need.

The Importance of Checking In
“So many of us have been affected by suicide,” shares the Veikle Agro team. “That’s why mental health in agriculture is important for us.”

The statistics of a recent study by Professor Andria Jones-Bitton at the University of Guelph, which surveyed over 1,100 farmers, are eye-opening:
  • 35% met the criteria for depression
  • 58% met the criteria for anxiety
  • 45% reported high levels of stress
  • 40% felt uncomfortable seeking professional help
But together, we're breaking free from the old "suck it up" mentality. We're fostering a culture of support and care, eradicating the stigma associated with seeking help. Do More Ag and #WinFieldJourneyForAg have already made a difference, but let's keep the conversation going.

The 2023 Do More Ag campaign, #TalkItOut, launched at the beginning of May.

“Our campaign addresses the stressors those in agriculture face, such as weather uncertainty, market instability, and financial pressures,” shares Megz Reynolds, Executive Director at the Do More Agriculture Foundation.

“These stressors can take a toll on our mental health, leading to chronic stress, burnout and other mental health challenges. However, we believe that no one needs to face these challenges alone. Although it may feel awkward, overwhelming, and/or uncomfortable, we hope to encourage individuals to push past these feelings and start conversations about mental health through our campaign. By talking it out, we can reduce our stress levels, break down feelings of isolation and work towards finding a solution, but it all starts with a conversation.”
If you or someone you know needs support, check out these resources: Remember, prioritize mental health and speak up. Together, we can create a brighter future.

Fostering Awareness and Conversation
During this year's Journey 5km, participants dove into conversations that were both meaningful and heartwarming. Despite the whirlwind of a busy season in the industry, friends, families, neighbours, and coworkers took a break from the daily hustle to connect.

“With many in agriculture working excessively long hours it’s easy to get burnt out, we need to fight the stress,” shares a participant from GJ Chemical Co. Ltd. “Taking some time out together for our mental health is important.”

The 2023 Journey 5km concluded with a mental health webinar led by Reynolds. The webinar covered signs and symptoms, how to support others and yourself and how to prepare and have conversations about mental health. The goal of the webinar was threefold:
  1. To increase awareness and understanding of mental health
  2. Make the training accessible wherever you are—in your tractor or at the office
  3. Help break down barriers and dispel stigma through talking, asking, and listening.
If you missed the Building Resiliency Together webinar, please check it out here.

Special Thank You
We had an incredible time at this year's event, filled with fun and meaningful conversations about mental health in agriculture. As we reflect on our success, we want to give a special shout-out and heartfelt thanks to all the contributors who made the 2023 Journey 5km a resounding success. Your dedication and support are truly inspiring.

And for those who are feeling generous and still want to make a donation to Do More Ag, please click here.

Looking Ahead
Guess what? We're already gearing up for next year with even bigger aspirations to make an even greater impact. So, to all past and future participants, join us next year for #WinFieldJourneyForAg– let's keep raising awareness, supporting one another, and making a positive change in the Canadian agriculture community.
Check journey5km.ca for updates, or follow WinField United Canada on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

“With many in agriculture working excessively long hours it’s easy to get burnt out, we need to fight the stress. Taking some time out together for our mental health is important.”

Participant from GJ Chemical Co. Ltd.

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