Lesley and her husband, Matt, have a 7,500-acre family farm, where they grow a variety of different crops. Over the years, they’ve come to realize that a successful harvest hinges on the general well-being of the farmer. Lesley and her family now make mental health a priority. Talking about it has become part of their day-to-day life and they openly discuss the challenges they face, both large and small.
After giving birth to her second son, Lesley had the baby blues for a few days. She was tired and overwhelmed. As her husband was aware of her condition, he made sure she could rest, and he relieved her of all the tasks that were piling up on her. Because they were there for each other, Lesley recovered quickly. Not long afterwards, Matt suffered a panic attack. The stress, isolation and guilt over not spending enough time at home, on top of his numerous responsibilities, had become too much for him. Neither he nor Lesley knew how to react. Instinctively, they talked to each other, shared their fears and came up with solutions. It sparked a discussion that they’re still having today. Communication has become their outlet for any anxieties they face. They don’t shy away from these topics, which takes the stigma out of them. Lesley has even addressed some in her blog, High Heels and Canola Fields and co-founded The Do More Agriculture Foundation, whose mission is to champion, encourage and support the mental wellbeing of Canadian farmers. By sharing a few facets of her life, she offers support to others. Lesley hopes to encourage others in the farming community to speak openly about mental health. This will make both farmers and the agricultural industry better and stronger.