Zoetis, AA Co dig deep to support mental health

Beef Central, 01/11/2019

Marcia Harkins and Patrice O’Brien from Beyond Blue, with Zoetis representatives, from left, livestock marketing manager Mark Willis; Vice President Australia and New Zealand, Lance Williams; associate director for Pigs, Poultry and Nutrition, John Reeves; Associate Director for Companion Animal Marketing, Lincoln Mortlock; and Livestock Business Unit Director, Fred Schwenke.

ANIMAL Health company Zoetis has hit its yearly target, again raising $100,000 to support mental health in rural Australia over the past three months.

Through its partnership with Beyond Blue, Zoetis has now raised $400,000 since 2016 as the company continues its support for the charity.

Zoetis donated $5 from each sale of the company’s cattle, sheep, pig, poultry and goat vaccines and drenches over the period of the fundraising campaign.

Funds raised have gone directly to the Beyond Blue Support Service providing advice and support for more people 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman thanked Zoetis for their efforts in supporting this important cause.

“We are honoured to receive this support from Zoetis each year,” Ms Harman said. “This additional $100,000 will help to ensure that people living with mental health issues in rural Australia receive the vital support they need.

“While it’s well-known our farmers can be vulnerable to mental health challenges due to droughts, floods and financial worries, the impact on the wider community in these areas is less well-known. From farmers and their families, to re-sellers and regional businesses, much of the community is impacted as the effects of hard times trickle through the local economy,” she said.

Beyond Blue’s Support Service is available for people day and night, and the organisation had seen a steady increase in the number of calls coming in, reaching out in a time of need.

“It’s a potentially life-changing service for many, especially for those who don’t feel they have any family members or friends close by to talk to or confide in,” Ms Harman said.

The Beyond Blue Support Service costs on average $48 per contact and people can reach out to counsellors by phone, webchat or email. This means to date the funds donated by Zoetis, with help from the local community, has funded more than 8300 contacts with people at a critical time in their lives.

Zoetis Vice President, Australia and New Zealand Lance Williams said the company’s staff travelled more than two million kilometres each year to Australia’s most remote locations, and saw first-hand the farming communities where extreme weather events and the flow on effects of their animals’ well-being causes upset and stresses that people living in our cities may find hard to understand.

“We’re incredibly passionate and whole-heartedly committed to supporting hard-working Australians with our donations and supporting our farmers, agricultural stores and veterinarians with the supply of animal health supplies where needed,” he said.

“It is a great honour for us to once again achieve our fundraising goal with Beyond Blue for this great initiative. At Zoetis we recognise the importance of improving mental health in rural areas where the rate of suicide is about 40 percent higher than in major cities.”

In addition to the Support Service, Beyond Blue’s online resources and support can help people turn lives around, with more than 110,000 people using Beyond Blue’s online forums every month, tapping into an online peer support network offering people connection and support from others who have been through similar experiences. The forums are monitored by a team of moderators who are trained to identify people at high risk of distress and suicide and help them to access the support they need.

Facts from Beyond Blue:

  • In Australia, it’s estimated that 45pc of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime
  • One in seven Australians will experience depression in their lifetime.
  • In any year, around 1 million people in Australia experience depression and more than 2 million are living with an anxiety condition.
  • More than eight Australians take their lives every day and there are an estimated 200 suicide attempts every 24 hours.

For more information about depression and anxiety, visit www.beyondblue.org.au.

To talk to a mental health professional for free, contact the 24/7 Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636. Free Web chat is also available from 3pm until midnight AEST at beyondblue.org.au/getsupport and you can join the forums for free, and download the BeyondNow app from the website.


AA Co’s new partnership to improve mental health in Gulf region

Meanwhile the Australian Agricultural Co is partnering with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in a new program that will boost mental health in Queensland’s Gulf region, following the devastating floods there earlier this year.

AA Co Managing Director Hugh Killen said the communities were hit hard and there was a real need for ongoing support.

“Many families and businesses were heavily impacted and some people lost just about everything. The floodwaters swamped several of our stations as well. It was a tough time for everyone,” Mr Killen said.

“Recovering after the floods isn’t just about fixing fences and buildings or replacing livestock. Some people have to pick up their whole lives and start again, and that takes time.

“We’re all part of the same rural community and we feel a deep compassion for and connection to the people there. We’re proud to provide this additional support for them.”

Mr Killen said AA Co was committing up to $250,000 over three years, which would fund a series of programs and events across the region and reach as many people as possible.

“It includes events such as mini field days and pit stop health checks that put mental health clinicians in direct contact with people who need the most help, but might not know how to get it” he said.

“The program will be evaluated regularly to make sure it’s making a positive difference.”

Meredith Staib, CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) welcomed the new funding and was excited for the benefits it would bring to the affected regions.

“We know that delivering the best healthcare to rural and remote Queensland is more than emergency retrieval and involves supporting the overall health of families and communities through primary healthcare including mental health services,” Ms Staib said.

“That is why our field day program and mental health services are so important, and we are grateful for the support from AA Co.”

Mr Killen said the program would get underway immediately and communities right across the Gulf region would be able to access it.

“We’re excited about this partnership with the RFDS. There is no better organisation to help the people across the Gulf in this way,” Mr Killen said.

“We have a mental health program for our stations and we see the benefits that come from that. We look forward to seeing what this program will bring to the wider community.”




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