first_imgREGINA – The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan says concerns about suicide rates among farmers and mental health supports are starting to get some attention.On the weekend, Kim Keller, a farmer from Gronlid, Sask., sent out a tweet urging the agriculture community to do more on the issue, saying “farm stress is real, suicide is real.”Keller, a co-founder of Saskatchewan Women in Ag, says she felt compelled to speak out after being contacted by an industry professional looking for resources to help the family of a client who had taken his life.Her tweet was shared 37 times, received over 100 likes and prompted dozens of people to respond and continue the discussion over the next several days.Keller says she was also approached by Premier Brad Wall, asking she meet with the Department of Agriculture to discuss the issue.She says she has lost count of the messages, texts and phone calls she’s received from people sharing their stories and offering to help.“This shows me that as an industry we are ready to tackle this issue head on,” she says.APAS president Todd Lewis agrees that the conversation is long overdue and says the mental health of the province’s young producers is of particular concern.“For some, this is the first time they’ve experienced a drought or a spring harvest. It’s been a tough year,” he says. “We need to keep talking about this. We know our producers are feeling the pressure.”Lewis adds that APAS is working to incorporate the issue of mental health and suicide into its upcoming midterm meeting, and will be looking at addressing the gaps in policy and supports available.last_img read more