Amy VanderHeide runs a third generation chicken farm in Coldbrook, Nova Scotia, with her husband, in-laws, and three sons. Farming can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges – all of which can take a toll. That is something that Amy knows well.
She was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder three years ago. “Spring through fall is very busy, so there is less time to stop and think about it. Winter arrives and things slow down; meanwhile all of these emotions have been building up,” described VanderHeide.
VanderHeide shared her story on social media, and was overwhelmed by the response from other farmers. “When you begin to open up, it’s surprising to see how many people are feeling the same way,” said VanderHeide, explaining that if her openness is able to help even one person feel less alone then it will all be worth it.
“We’ve come so far, but there is more to do. I hope that when my boys grow up and farm, that checking in on their mental health is just another part of the job.”