Entries by Andrea

On Peer Support Work and its Effectiveness in Rural Communities

Rural communities are a unique context for mental healthcare. In rural and agricultural communities across North America, there is a mental health crisis due to the lack of resources that exist, and stigma discourages people from getting help. Rural communities experience higher rates of suicide, addiction, and substance use. Rural residents are more likely to […]

Interview with a Row Crop Farm Family

The Stigma-Free Society recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kenneth and Kathryn Mentzer, a row crop farm family based in central Illinois. Their philosophy to farming is based on improving the land they farm on and making a positive impact in their community. What are some specific challenges that people face in the rural community […]

E-Mental Health: Digital Alternatives to Mental Health Support in Rural Communities

Seeking support is a vital first step in managing mental health challenges, but what if support is hard to come by? According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, access to mental health services is particularly limited in rural and remote communities. Given the long and demanding days required for many in the farming community, […]

It’s Ok to not be Ok – Navigating the Terrain of Adversity

The landscape of rural based living has always fostered a resilient, multi-talented and hard-working mind frame in those who choose, or were born into ranching, homesteading, or farming. But at what point does our emotional strength and resilience crater to the level of adversity or pressure one individual, family, or operation can handle. Many of […]

Running on Empty? Tips on How to Refuel and Refresh

When life gets busy, it can be very difficult to stay calm, focused, and energized. If you’ve ever felt like you were running on empty, you are not alone. Given the strenuous labour and challenging working conditions involved in farming, especially during harvest season, it’s no wonder that Canadians in rural and agricultural communities report […]

Breaking the Silence: Allan Kehler Speaks about Men’s Mental Health

Although the stigma surrounding mental health challenges has begun to diminish, there remains much work to be done, especially when it comes to men’s experiences. Given that traditional gender norms remain prevalent, including outdated and one-sided ideas of “masculinity” as characterized by emotionless independence, it’s no surprise that men are reluctant to reach out for […]

Wellness Matters for LGBTQ2IS+ Youth in Rural Communities

Within remote and rural regions of Canada, there are particular challenges facing youth who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Two-Spirit and additional sexual orientations and gender identities). Studies have shown that LGBTQIA2S+ people experience higher rates of mental health issues, which are heightened by exposure to societal and institutional prejudices. […]

Sowing Gratitude, Reaping Goodness: How Thankfulness Benefits Us

When it comes to reducing stress, building connection, and finding fulfillment, there’s no better attitude than gratitude. Studies have consistently shown that thankfulness produces a host of psychological, social, and even physical benefits: it increases positive emotions, decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation, and even strengthens our immune systems. As Lesley Kelly, Co-Founder of the […]

Interview with Gerry Friesen, the Recovering Farmer

This past summer, Andrea Paquette, President and Co-Founder of the Stigma-Free Society, interviewed Gerry Friesen, the Recovering Farmer. Today, Gerry shares with us some more about his experiences and core messages as a mental health advocate. On your website, you identify as “the recovering farmer.” In a few sentences, can you please tell us about […]

Tools for Transformation: Peer Support Worker Training

In partnership with Robyn Priest LIVE YOUR TRUTH, the Stigma-Free Society is proud to announce our upcoming Peer Support Worker Training sessions, tailored specifically for rural residents in Canada. This two-day virtual course will be held on November 1st and November 8th (8am – 4pm PDT, 10am – 6pm CDT, 11am – 7pm EDT, with […]