A new app for farmers to receive mental health support was presented to the Saskatchewan Government today.
The app, Avail, is developed by Saskatoon-based Bridges Health. The app uses a confidential system to actively record and analyze the mental health of agricultural producers. It also provides online mental health resources such as articles and videos, and community resource lists for a person’s community.
Avail also encourages regular check-ins and has ways to track patterns in mental health for both these producers and their care providers.
Innovation Saskatchewan Minister Jeremy Harrison says farmers and ranchers face unique challenges when it comes to accessing mental health services, and this app provides a “Made in Saskatchewan” solution to these issues.
It also comes as the Saskatchewan Farm Stress Line sees calls of farmers looking for mental health resources, with over 1,000 calls in 2019-2020.
Bridges Health Vice President Leon Ferguson adds that as a Saskatchewan-based company, agriculture touches both the lives of their family and their business and they are honoured to work on Avail with the government and partners for the wellness of farmers.
The app was designed during a provincial Innovation Challenge, which encourages Saskatchewan-based tech companies to work on issues facing the public.
As this year’s winner, Bridges Health was given $10,000 and a 16-week residency to develop Avail.