LEADING animal health company, Zoetis, has hit its yearly target to raise $100,000 to support mental health in rural Australia.
Through a close partnership with Beyond Blue, Zoetis has raised $400,000 since 2016 for the charity.
For the fourth year in a row, Zoetis has been able to achieve its $100,000 goal by donating $5 from each sale of the company’s cattle, sheep, pig, poultry and goat vaccines and drenches.
The 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 chief executive officer Georgie Harman thanked Zoetis for their efforts in supporting the important cause.
“We are extremely honoured to receive such amazing support from Zoetis each year.
“This additional $100,000 will help to ensure that people living with mental health issues in rural Australia receive the vital support they need,” she said.
“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,” Ms Harman said.
“Our Support Service is always available for people day and night and we have been seeing 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.”
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 over 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 travel more than 2 million kilometres each year to Australia’s most remote locations and see 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.
“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 per cent 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.