Lewellyn Melnyk

Manitoba, Canada

Author of Rooted: How I Stay Small Town Strong When Life Gets Hard and How You Can Too: A Guide to Finding Joy, Learning from Struggle, and Coming Together One Season at a Time

Booking Info

Kim Weiss

954-263-6827

BOOK COVER

BOOK DETAILS

Pub date: February 7, 2023
Genre: Mental Health 
Publisher: Friesen Press
Page Count: 189
ISBN: 978-1-03-916606-6 (paperback); 978-1-03-9166077-3 (hardcover); 978-1-03-916608-0 (ebook)
Price: $26.99 CAD, paperback; $38.99 CAD, hardcover

Lewellyn’s Rooted Playlist

ABOUT THE BOOK

As the topic of mental health is becoming less taboo and more pervasive in our societal conversations, there are segments of our culture where mental illness has almost become an occupational hazard. In rural small towns where everyone knows your name and your business, these conversations are less prevalent. With the propensity of services and mental health resources in more populated areas, it’s hard to fathom how excruciating the isolation of being a farmer can be. Lewellyn Melnyk knows well about hours spent on her farm that separated her from the support she needed in her bout with depression and anxiety which started in her teens and was enough for her to consider suicide.

In her book,
Rooted: How I Stay Small-Town Strong When Life Gets Hard and How You Can Too: A Guide to Finding Joy, Learning from Struggle, and Coming Together One Season at a Time is a blend of self-help and memoir to help readers through the tough times and show  them how to live with compassion and joy while caring for themselves first. Through humor, vivacious attitude, and a soundtrack to match, this guide acknowledges and dispels the myths around rural living and shows how mental illness is rooted in the culture of these communities. Whether living on a farm or in an apartment in the city, readers will find these simple strategies achievable to improve mental and physical health. Rooted is for anyone ready to take the next step and get their hands and heart dirty.

“[Rooted]... is the best "self help" book I have ever read because it is the only one I'm aware of that is specifically aimed at the challenges facing farmers and rural residents…” – Sarah Vogel, Attorney/ Author of THE FARMER'S LAWYER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lewellyn Melnyk is a journalist by trade and a farmer by choice. She worked as a reporter and anchor at CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba before focusing on farming alongside her husband and family. Rooted is inspired by her personal challenges with mental health, grief, and the desire to help others love themselves and improve their mental health. 

In 2021, she facilitated a mental health program called “Talk. Ask. Listen.” in collaboration with the Do More Agriculture Foundation, a national organization that teaches farmers how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and get support. Melnyk has a passion for country music and enjoys running, especially on gravel roads. She lives on a grain farm near Angusville, Manitoba, with her husband and two children.

FACTS & TALKING POINTS

  • Agriculture is one of the top 5 occupations with some of the highest rates of death by suicide (NPR - September 2022)
  • A 2020 survey of Canadian farmers found that 45% reported high stress, 58% were classified with varying levels of anxiety and 35% with depression (University of Guelph)
  • Mental illness is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban communities (2017-Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP))
  • Given the nature of the occupation, farmers experience social isolation and are traditionally less open to discussing mental health and accepting support.
  • Hotlines exist in Canada and the US for mental health issues. Canada's Resources are here: https://www.nfu.ca/help/. In the U.S. farmers can find support here: https://www.agrisafe.org/

TIMELY TIE-INS

FEBRUARY

  • International Boost Self-Esteem Month
  • I Love to Read Month (Manitoba)
  • Psychology Month (Canadian Psychological Association)
  • Canada’s National Agriculture Day - February 15
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day - February 17


MARCH

  • Self-Harm Awareness Month
  • National Agriculture Month
  • National Ag Day - March 22


APRIL

  • Stress Awareness Month


MAY

  • Mental Health Awareness Month


SEPTEMBER

  • Suicide Prevention Month (long lead)

Q&A WITH LEWELLYN

Why did you write this book?

I always found that one of the best things for my mental health was hearing other people’s stories and realizing that I am not alone.  I knew that I had a story to share that was worth telling and that I could help other people by simply writing about it.  Add to that some advice from experts and I think there are valuable tools for people struggling to find joy in their lives. 

You expose some truths about small town living in this book. Why do you think that’s important?

I think the culture in small towns often fosters habits that degrade mental health.  I love small towns. I am the biggest advocate when it comes to rural living, but I also want to see the people who live there thrive.  I know that exposing truths can be hard to hear, but it is also the way to highlight the areas that might require change – especially for good mental health. My hope is that this message will foster good habits, and also encourage some conversations that are often avoided.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book? 

First off, an understanding about the agriculture industry because I think it is important for consumers to know where their food comes from, and be aware of what farm families like mine invest into producing high quality food. Farmers and ranchers make up less than 2% of the population, but we help feed the other 98%.  Second, I hope they acquire some skills on how to nourish good mental health, no matter where they live and regardless of their circumstances.

In simple terms, what’s the best way to improve mental health?

Obviously good habits like focusing on nutrition, sleep, and exercise are huge things, but also being authentic with yourself and others. We need to stop hiding how we are feeling, and we need to be honest with ourselves and those around us. That means talking about how we feel and we need to stop avoiding the tough stuff.  If we are struggling, we need to talk about it with the people around us.

Your book contains song cues throughout- your book’s playlist is similar to a movie’s soundtrack.  Why did you incorporate songs into your text?

I believe that music can help us feel. Good mental health comes to us when we validate our emotions. I’ve used music as a tool to do that my whole life. I see real value in embracing music that evokes emotions and I wanted my readers to do the same way. Music can make us feel happy, sad, excited, make us laugh, or cry, but at the end of the day it helps us to feel and that’s exactly what I wanted my readers to experience.  I appreciate good songwriting and I love country music so this was also a fun way to share some of my favorites.

BOOK DETAILS

Pub date: February 7, 2023
Genre: Mental Health 
Publisher: Friesen Press
Page Count: 189
ISBN: 978-1-03-916606-6 (paperback); 978-1-03-9166077-3 (hardcover); 978-1-03-916608-0 (ebook)
Price: $26.99 CAD, paperback; $38.99 CAD, hardcover

ABOUT THE BOOK

As the topic of mental health is becoming less taboo and more pervasive in our societal conversations, there are segments of our culture where mental illness has almost become an occupational hazard. In rural small towns where everyone knows your name and your business, these conversations are less prevalent. With the propensity of services and mental health resources in more populated areas, it’s hard to fathom how excruciating the isolation of being a farmer can be. Lewellyn Melnyk knows well about hours spent on her farm that separated her from the support she needed in her bout with depression and anxiety which started in her teens and was enough for her to consider suicide.

In her book, Rooted: How I Stay Small-Town Strong When Life Gets Hard and How You Can Too: A Guide to Finding Joy, Learning from Struggle, and Coming Together One Season at a Time is a blend of self-help and memoir to help readers through the tough times and show  them how to live with compassion and joy while caring for themselves first. Through humor, vivacious attitude, and a soundtrack to match, this guide acknowledges and dispels the myths around rural living and shows how mental illness is rooted in the culture of these communities. Whether living on a farm or in an apartment in the city, readers will find these simple strategies achievable to improve mental and physical health. Rooted is for anyone ready to take the next step and get their hands and heart dirty.


“[Rooted]... is the best "self help" book I have ever read because it is the only one I'm aware of that is specifically aimed at the challenges facing farmers and rural residents…” – Sarah Vogel, Attorney/ Author of THE FARMER'S LAWYER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lewellyn Melnyk is a journalist by trade and a farmer by choice. She worked as a reporter and anchor at CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba before focusing on farming alongside her husband and family. Rooted is inspired by her personal challenges with mental health, grief, and the desire to help others love themselves and improve their mental health. 

In 2021, she facilitated a mental health program called “Talk. Ask. Listen.” in collaboration with the Do More Agriculture Foundation, a national organization that teaches farmers how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and get support. Melnyk has a passion for country music and enjoys running, especially on gravel roads. She lives on a grain farm near Angusville, Manitoba, with her husband and two children.

FACTS & TALKING POINTS

  • Agriculture is one of the top 5 occupations with some of the highest rates of death by suicide (NPR - September 2022)
  • A 2020 survey of Canadian farmers found that 45% reported high stress, 58% were classified with varying levels of anxiety and 35% with depression (University of Guelph)
  • Mental illness is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban communities (2017-Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP))
  • Given the nature of the occupation, farmers experience social isolation and are traditionally less open to discussing mental health and accepting support.
  • Hotlines exist in Canada and the US for mental health issues. Canada's Resources are here: https://www.nfu.ca/help/. In the U.S. farmers can find support here: https://www.agrisafe.org/

TIMELY TIE-INS

JANUARY

  • New Year, New You
  • National Mentoring Month
  • International Day of Education - January 24
  • Bell Let’s Talk Day - January 25 (Canada)
  • Family Literacy Day - January 28 (Canada)


FEBRUARY

  • International Boost Self-Esteem Month
  • I Love to Read Month (Manitoba)
  • Psychology Month (Canadian Psychological Association)
  • Canada’s National Agriculture Day - February 15
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day - February 17


MARCH

  • Self-Harm Awareness Month
  • National Agriculture Month
  • National Ag Day - March 22


APRIL

  • Stress Awareness Month


MAY

  • Mental Health Awareness Month


SEPTEMBER

  • Suicide Prevention Month (long lead)

Q&A WITH LEWELLYN

Why did you write this book?

I always found that one of the best things for my mental health was hearing other people’s stories and realizing that I am not alone.  I knew that I had a story to share that was worth telling and that I could help other people by simply writing about it.  Add to that some advice from experts and I think there are valuable tools for people struggling to find joy in their lives. 


You expose some truths about small town living in this book. Why do you think that’s important?

I think the culture in small towns often fosters habits that degrade mental health.  I love small towns. I am the biggest advocate when it comes to rural living, but I also want to see the people who live there thrive.  I know that exposing truths can be hard to hear, but it is also the way to highlight the areas that might require change – especially for good mental health. My hope is that this message will foster good habits, and also encourage some conversations that are often avoided.


What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book? 

First off, an understanding about the agriculture industry because I think it is important for consumers to know where their food comes from, and be aware of what farm families like mine invest into producing high quality food. Farmers and ranchers make up less than 2% of the population, but we help feed the other 98%.  Second, I hope they acquire some skills on how to nourish good mental health, no matter where they live and regardless of their circumstances.


In simple terms, what’s the best way to improve mental health?

Obviously good habits like focusing on nutrition, sleep, and exercise are huge things, but also being authentic with yourself and others. We need to stop hiding how we are feeling, and we need to be honest with ourselves and those around us. That means talking about how we feel and we need to stop avoiding the tough stuff.  If we are struggling, we need to talk about it with the people around us.


Your book contains song cues throughout- your book’s playlist is similar to a movie’s soundtrack.  Why did you incorporate songs into your text?

I believe that music can help us feel. Good mental health comes to us when we validate our emotions. I’ve used music as a tool to do that my whole life. I see real value in embracing music that evokes emotions and I wanted my readers to do the same way. Music can make us feel happy, sad, excited, make us laugh, or cry, but at the end of the day it helps us to feel and that’s exactly what I wanted my readers to experience.  I appreciate good songwriting and I love country music so this was also a fun way to share some of my favorites.