Beyond Blue – a not-for-profit organisation that provides mental health support and suicide prevention for strategies – has now received $500,000 in donations over the last five years through purchases of Zoetis animal health products.
The funds are being used to provide continued support to all Australians, including those living in remote areas, with phone or webchat support from Beyond Blue counsellors who can provide immediate relief and set a pathway for longer term support.
The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is open to anyone to access.
Demand increases in COVID year
With this year’s challenges, Beyond Blue has responded to a 30 to 40 per cent increase in demand for counselling support, with the increase peaking in May at 60 per cent.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman thanked Zoetis for supporting this important cause.
“We are honoured to receive such wonderful support from Zoetis each year with all funds raised by Zoetis going towards the Beyond Blue Support Service,” Ms Harman said.
“In fact, it’s very encouraging to see that people in rural and remote communities access the Beyond Blue online forums at a proportionally higher rate than people living in the cities.”
Ms Harman said those in regional areas face a number of challenges which can negatively affect wellbeing, including disasters, economic change, isolation and poor access to services.
“While it’s well known that droughts, floods and financial worries can contribute to distress for farmers, the impact on the wider community in these areas is less well-known,” Ms Harman said.
“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.
“Our Support Service is for everyone, and is open day and night thanks to generous, long-term donors like Zoetis. There’s no eligibility criteria and it’s never too early, or too late, to seek support – just one phone or webchat with a Beyond Blue counsellor can provide immediate relief and results, and a pathway to longer term support. It’s a potentially life-changing service, especially for those feeling isolated.”
$5 from every sale donated to Beyond Blue
The multi-national which serves veterinarians, livestock producers and those who raise and care for companion animals, made a commitment in 2016 that it would donate $5 from each sale of the company’s cattle, sheep, pig, poultry and goat vaccines and drenches to Beyond Blue.
Zoetis Senior Vice President ANZ, Lance Williams, 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 and tackling the tragedy of suicide, which disproportionately affect people in regional and rural areas.
“We understand the devastating effect suicide can have on rural communities. We see first-hand the farming communities where record breaking droughts, devastating bushfires, serious flooding and now, the global pandemic COVID-19 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 products where needed.”
How to access support for mental health
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 now open on 1800 512 348.
To discover other ways to help support rural mental health services, you may like to read this story about a 2021 Naked Farmer calendar that is raising money for the Royal Flying Doctors Service Mental Health Unit.