LEADING animal health company Zoetis is aiming to raise $100,000 to support community health and reduce suicide rates in rural Australia with a unique campaign.
For every Zoetis cattle or sheep vaccine or drench sold between August 1 and October 30 2016, Zoetis will donate $5 to the national anxiety and depression awareness initiative beyondblue, up to a total of $100,000. Zoetis has become a supporting partner of beyondblue.
Zoetis general manager Lance Williams said the company’s staff travel more than two million kilometres each year servicing all types of farms and households in some of the most remote areas of Australia.
“They recognise the highs and lows faced by resellers and producers in regional and remote Australia.
“With rural communities facing tough seasonal conditions, ever-changing commodity prices and the tyranny of distance, the mental health of rural residents is of growing concern,” he said.
“Zoetis is passionate about supporting hard-working regional Australians.
“There is not one person in our organisation who hasn’t had some exposure to mental health issues and this drives our need to ensure this campaign with beyondblue is a success.”
Suicide rates are higher in regional, rural and remote areas, due in part to people in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia facing more barriers to accessing healthcare than people living in major cities.
beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett said every community experiences ups and downs.
“But when you get another issue that arises on top of daily challenges, whether it is prolonged drought, flood or fire, the impact on many rural families is severe.
“The stress and anxiety can be overwhelming.”
“If you take for instance, the challenges being faced in the dairy industry, there is great apprehension and anxiety amongst our farmers,” he said.
“We need to make sure they get the help they need well before they reach crisis point.”
beyondblue chief executive officer Georgie Harman said stigma about mental illness and suicide can cause embarrassment, blame and shame, damaged relationships, social isolation and can stop people seeking help when they need it.