The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘informed’ as ‘to have or possess knowledge, to be educated, or knowledgeable’. Some synonyms of ‘informed’ are enlightened and illuminated. In the medical field ‘informed’ is often paired with ‘consent’ – which is considered to mean that someone has all of the information and knowledge to understand the related benefits and risks to a treatment or procedure, and as such makes an ‘informed decision’ to consent to or decline a treatment or a procedure.

More recently, we are seeing the word show up in connection with specific terms that might be viewed as ‘lenses’. The implication is that a particular situation or topic is being looked at through a specific lens, or perspective. The high level goal is to provide relevant and important information to that topic from a perspective that might not be seen or understood otherwise.

As a beautiful example, the NFMHA states its mission as: Providing mental health services and training tailored to farmers, farm families, and veterinarians. This statement explicitly communicates several things:

There are unique perspectives within, and issues and challenges facing both the agricultural industry, and the veterinary industry (paired here due to their significant overlap).

IF these unique perspectives are better understood we might better fundamentally understand the specific needs of these industries.

Ultimately, a belief is held that having that ‘specific, extra information’ and understanding will result in more effective and efficient methods of helping folks in these industries.

Hence, the concept of ‘Ag-Informed Therapy’ (and following hot on it’s heels ‘Veterinary Informed Therapy’). With the goal of creating a network of therapists and coaches, each trained to recognize the unique issues facing these industries, and to develop effective mental health strategies that meet their specific needs.

To be clear, this does not imply a lack, or deficiency is inherently present within these professionals. Instead, it is the opposite. Being ‘Ag-Informed’ directly communicates that as a mental health professional or a coach, “I understand that there might be concepts and perspectives that are not within my scope of lived experience, knowledge, and that I cannot imagine, and that these concepts and perspectives are important for me to explore and understand as a person, and as a professional serving these industries”

In fact, when I think of this concept several things come up for me around what the term directly, and indirectly communicates. For example, when I see on a website that someone has invested the time and the energy to become ‘informed’ on a particular topic, there is a direct connection made to an area of interest, and how that interest might influence a topic. I also immediately feel an openness on behalf of that person to new and different perspectives, a recognition that different perspectives matter, and that time and energy has been dedicated to specifically seeking out that perspective. There is a feeling of mutual respect, caring, and connection that is quickly created.

On the flip side of that coin, there are benefits as the person communicating. Using myself as an example, by using the term ‘informed’ I can directly communicate with awareness (dare I say mindfulness) what lenses have informed my opinion, and what lenses I have invested time and energy into exploring, learning about, and integrating into my perspective. I, for example, can say that on top of my training and lived experience as a veterinarian and a certified coach, I am Compassion Fatigue-informed, Trauma-Informed, Ag-Informed, DBT* Informed, CPT* Informed, and last but not least, informed moment by moment by The Polyvagal Theory.

The question that quickly comes next is … where did you get your ‘information’ from to become ‘informed’, and are the sources credible, reliable, and integrity based. That my friends, is the topic of another blog. Stay tuned…

*DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy; *CPT – Cognitive Processing Therapy both through lived experience as a participant, not certification, training or as a licensed mental health professional.

Dr. Leann Benedetti is a Veterinarian and ICF ACC Certified Coach, ‘informed’ as described above, working as ‘The Veterinary Coach’ – coaching, mentoring and facilitating safe, supportive, spaces for individuals and teams to learn and grow. For more information please see www.theveterinarycoach.ca

The NFMHA is grateful to present at the 31st Annual Rural and Remote Medicine Conference. 🌱Society of Rural Physicians #srpc2024 #ruralmedicine #ruralwellness #farmermentalhealth #farmerwellness #aginformedtherapy #AgMentalHealth #agletstalk🥬 #agmorethanever #farmersofinstagram ... See MoreSee Less
Set yourself up for an amazing week with these Sunday Tips. Are there any others that you have found helpful in your Sunday routine?#nfmha #nfmhalliance #weneedfarmers #weappreciatefarmers #mentalhealthjourney #farmermentalhealth #farmerwellness #farmstrong #farmcommunity #AgMentalHealth #agletstalk🥬 #agmorethanever #farmersofinstagram #ruralrooted #ruralwellbeing #therapistsofinstagram #socialworkersofinstagram #supportoneanother ... See MoreSee Less
Join us for the Women's Leadership Conference in Lambton County. We will be there. It is a one-day event dedicated to empowering and inspiring women leaders. This conference is designed to provide women with the tools, knowledge, and network to excel in their professional and personal lives.Hosted at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 388, this in-person event will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2024, starting at 09:30 AM.www.eventbrite.ca/e/womens-leadership-conference-lambton-county-tickets-768996076967@thejeancollect#womeninleadershipr#nfmhan#nationalfarmermentalhealthallianceiance ... See MoreSee Less
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