App Helps Farmers Monitor Their Mental Health

Recently, Innovation Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, unveiled a new tool for agricultural producers to track their mental health.

Avail, a mobile app developed by Saskatoon-based Bridges Health, offers producers a confidential system for actively recording and analyzing their mental health, accessing online resources such as articles and videos, and finding and accessing care providers in their communities. The app encourages regular check-ins and allows producers and their care providers to find patterns in the data they log.

“Mental health in the agriculture industry is a priority for the Government of Saskatchewan, and we know farmers and ranchers face unique challenges when it comes to accessing mental health services,” Innovation Saskatchewan Minister Jeremy Harrison said.

Calls to the Farm Stress Line show producers are looking for resources to maintain their mental health. In 2019-20, the toll-free line received more than 1,000 calls.

“Producers face a number of factors that are out of their control, many of which can have a negative impact on mental health,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “This tool allows producers to take an active role in monitoring their mental health and accessing supports.”

As winners of the 2020 Innovation Challenge, Bridges Health at received $10,000, as well as a 16-week residency to develop Avail. They presented Avail to government and industry offices during a digital presentation this afternoon.

“As a company founded and based in Saskatchewan, the agriculture sector touches both our business and our families,” Bridges Health Vice President Leon Ferguson said. “We are honoured to have this opportunity to work with government and partners to develop and advance this mental health and overall wellness tool.”

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