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Zoetis, Beyond Blue shine light on rural womens’ mental health issues

Beef Central, 26/07/2021

ANIMAL Health company Zoetis continues to support the mental health challenges faced by people living in rural Australia, and, this year is shining a light on women’s mental health though its partnership with Beyond Blue.

Zoetis is committing to raise up to $100,000 to support the mental health organisation in 2021 – the sixth year of this joint campaign, which runs between July 15 and October 31.

Working closely with rural Australia through interactions with the country’s farming community, agricultural stores, veterinarians and their families, Zoetis has helped raise $500,000 in the past five years by donating $5 from each sale of the company’s livestock, pig and poultry vaccines and drenches.

The money raised goes directly to the Beyond Blue Support Service to continue helping people living in remote areas who experience higher rates of mental health conditions and suicide. To date, thanks to Zoetis’s donation, more than 8000 people have been able to get the support they need through the service.

Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman

With one third of Australian women living in rural and regional areas, women play a crucial role in the growth and future of regional economies and communities.

Unfortunately, women experience some mental health conditions at higher rates than men.

Women are often juggling the demands of trying to be a perfect worker, parent, partner and friend, which can be nothing short of exhausting. And when women feel they have fallen short of these standards, they can be quick to self-criticise.

“Zoetis is proud to once again be supporting Beyond Blue and the important work they do,” the company’s senior vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Lance Williams said.

“We knew that supporting mental health in rural Australia was critical when we first embarked on this support campaign, but we didn’t know then just how important the partnership would be. Together we have made strong progress in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of rural families and individuals, and we are passionate about helping again this year.”

In addition to everyday demands, major life transitions such as pregnancy, motherhood and menopause can create physical and emotional stresses for women. Negative life experiences such as infertility and perinatal loss, poverty, discrimination, violence, unemployment and isolation also impact on women’s mental health and wellbeing. In addition, unequal economic and social conditions can contribute to women’s higher risk of depression.

COVID’s impact on service demand

Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman said the Beyond Blue Support Service continued to experience increased demand since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

“The past year has brought its challenges, and people have got in touch with us for many reasons. They might be feeling worried, lonely, concerned about their health or the health of friends and loved ones, finances or job security,” Ms Harman said.

“Whatever the reason, Beyond Blue wants people to know that no problem is too big or small to reach out. Sometimes, just talking to someone can make a difference.

“Through this partnership, Beyond Blue can support many people in rural areas and we are very grateful for the ongoing support from Zoetis.”

Personal stories – Julie Andreazza

Julie Andreazza’s resilience and ability to overcome the challenges life had thrown her way were on show for the world to see when in 2018, she won the NSW Farmer of the Year Award.

It was a high point in her life and recognition for years of hard work on and off the farm.

Julie Andreazza

What most people wouldn’t have known when Julie accepted the award were the depths she had risen from to get there. In addition to the devastating impact of drought, she had experienced grief, mourning and mental illness in the years leading up to the honour and came out the other side with an inspiring message of hope and courage.

The mother of four adult children and business partner with her husband of 32 years said her life first began to unravel when she received the shock news of her father’s death, two days before Christmas in 2015.

“Receiving the news was like a road train hit me and my life has never been the same since,” Mrs Andreazza said. Not long after, her daughter opened up about a trauma that had happened to her years earlier. Julie was shattered beyond words.

“It is not something any parent is ever prepared to hear – it’s not something you can be taught how to handle,” she said.

While Julie and her husband Glen began the process of supporting their daughter and caring for her mental health, the family received a new blow – Glen suffered Myocarditis and was 24 hours away from a heart transplant.

Julie’s own mental health had deteriorated at this point.

“I spiralled into depression, not able to cope with the trauma, grief and pain that had engulfed my life in such a short space of time,” she said. Julie was diagnosed with depression and suicidal ideation.

“Eventually I was medicated and began treatment with a wonderful psychologist and started doing ok,” she said.

Julie credits her treatment team, husband, children, GP, support from Beyond Blue and her friends, for helping her manage these challenges and come out the other side with a new outlook and renewed optimism.

“My mental health has taught me to be grateful for every day and keep trying to be the best version of myself, which is why I applied with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and, after being accepted last year, am now halfway through the national program which trains rural, regional and remote people from all over Australia to be better leaders,” Mrs Andreazza said. “Because that is my goal now. To lead by example, to pay it forward.”

Julie’s advice for farmers around the nation dealing with mental health conditions while trying to juggle the demands of managing or working on a farm is to lean on the people you trust.

“It was so important for me that my family stuck together and supported one another. For people that may not have that, my advice would be to find people who they can call on to help lift some of the workload and burden, so you can focus on your health,” she said.

About Beyond Blue

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers free and immediate counselling, advice and referrals via phone, webchat or email. In addition to the support service, Beyond Blue has resources and information online at www.beyondblue.org.au, including Online Forums which offer peer support in a safe, moderated setting.

People can support the Zoetis initiative from July 15 to October 31. For every animal health product sold by Zoetis, they will donate $5, up to $100,000, to Beyond Blue.

  • For more information on how to help Zoetis to raise vital funds to support mental health in our rural communities through its partnership with Beyond Blue click here.
  • 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 46 36. Free web chat is also available from 3pm until midnight at beyondblue.org.au/getsupport and you can join the forums for free and download the BeyondNow app from the website.
  • The free Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is available 24/7 at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au Its dedicated phone line, staffed by mental health professionals trained on the pandemic response, is available on 1800 512 348.

 

Source: Zoetis

 

 

 

 

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