By Jamie Richards, Communications Branch
The Ministry of Agriculture and Innovation Saskatchewan have been working with Bridges Health to create a new tool to help producers track their mental health and link them with supports.
Bridges Health, a Saskatoon-based health and wellness service organization, was selected as the winner of the province-wide Innovation Challenge in the spring of 2020. The challenge asked technology entrepreneurs to offer solutions to assist Saskatchewan farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers in actively monitoring their mental health.
The result of the challenge was an app named Avail which allows users to gain important insights into their mental wellbeing through self-assessments and tracking progress over time. Users can identify where they're doing well, as well as opportunities for improvement. The app connects users with care professionals in their area, and links them to the virtual supports available. Additionally, Avail contains a self-help library of hundreds of articles and videos that users can access to work on their wellbeing.
As the winner of the challenge, Bridges Health was awarded $10,000 and a 16-week residency with the government to customize the app, Avail. Over the last several weeks, they've been hard at work tailoring Avail and building a library of care providers and resources. Now, they're ready to start trialing the app and are looking for Saskatchewan producers and their families to test the product, free of charge.
Pilot testing and feedback will help the Bridges Team refine the app to ensure it meets the needs of Saskatchewan producers looking to monitor their mental health.
Avail is available free of charge to Saskatchewan producers. Avail can be downloaded in the Apple or Android app stores, or accessed online at the Avail App website.. When signing up for an account, be sure to select the "Agriculture Saskatchewan" option from the organization name drop-down menu to access your free account. All personal information will remain completely confidential.
Previous Innovation Challenges have focused on technology solutions around rural property access, environment waste monitoring, and preventing rural crime. For more information about the Innovation Challenge process and previous winners, visit Innovation Saskatchewan's website.