Virtual Grower Day | Flowers & Vegetables
August 12, 2020 at
Mental break: Taking care of your health
Speaker: Emily Kerr, CHSEP AgSafe BC Safety Advisor Lower Mainland Region
Your mind and body are the most important pieces of equipment in your farming operation, what happens if they fail? Mental health challenges in agriculture are prevalent and have the ability to cripple an operation. This discussion will cover why agriculture is the “perfect storm” for mental health challenges, how to recognize when you or someone you know is struggling, and tips on how to get help.
Emily Kerr, CHSEP
Emily grew up in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley. Her passion for agriculture started at age six when she began working with horses. One of her first jobs was at a dairy farm in Matsqui. While working there Emily learned how to weld and began fixing and building things around the farm.
Emily decided to leave the farm and pursue a career in steel fabrication. She completed her apprenticeship through BCIT, and worked at a large welding/fabrication shop. Two years into her career, she was in a workplace accident which kept her off work for over two years, and changed the course of her life.
As she was unable to return to her career as a fabricator due to her injuries, Emily enrolled in the University of Fredericton’s Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Certificate Program. Upon graduation, Emily heard friends talking about “FARSHA” (AgSafe’s previous name) and after some research, Emily concluded that working for AgSafe (or FARSHA at the time) would be nothing short of a dream job. She was elated at the idea of combining her experience in agriculture with her new education in an effort to keep workers safe and support the industry. In November 2015 Emily joined AgSafe as a Safety Advisor in the Lower Mainland.
Emily is incredibly grateful that she has an opportunity to work with producers to keep their people safe and their industry thriving. Her passion for agriculture and industry experience has proven to be driving force for her work with AgSafe.
Emily is no stranger to the challenges associated with mental wellness. She has struggled with mental health challenges, but has sought help and continues to put in the work in order to live positively and productively with mental illness. Having the opportunity to work so closely with many ag producers in B.C. she has seen first-hand struggles faced by farmers on a daily basis. It has become not only a professional goal, but a personal one, for Emily to promote mental wellness in Agriculture.