Rebecca Purc-Stephenson is an Applied Social Psychologist and Professor at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus. She is also the Lead Researcher of AgKnow, the Alberta Farm Mental Health Network. Her research focuses on health, resilience, and employment issues in agriculture.
Over the past 20 years, she has conducted studies that examined how individuals with chronic physical and/or mental health conditions adapt at work, and what strategies help them build and sustain resilience to ongoing work stressors. Now working with community partners across Alberta and other researchers across Canada, she is examining the mental health and well-being among farmers, their families, and those in the agricultural industry.
Current projects include a provincial assessment of stress and coping among farmers, succession planning, transitions in and out of agriculture, farm animal epidemics and depopulation, and the farm management and mental wellness. This line of research is a natural fit for Dr. Purc- Stephenson as she lived on a farm, worked as a farm labourer on a large livestock operation, and is a survivor of a childhood farming accident.
Session Title: Growing Resilience: Cultivating Mental Health in Agriculture
There's been a lot of talk recently about farmers and mental health. So, what's the connection and why does it matter? This interactive session will present new research on the stresses and mental health outcomes (depression, anxiety, and burnout) of Alberta farmers, and how it relates to productivity on the farm. The presentation will also discuss how farmers say they currently cope and what strategies they find most helpful to build resilience to stress.