Farmers' health in the rural spotlight

Farmers' mental health in the rural spotlight

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GOOD CAUSE: Zoetis' Mark Willis, Lance Williams, John Reeves, Beyond Blue's Marcia Harkins, Patrice O'Brien and Zoetis' Lincoln Mortlock and Fred Schwenke with a $100,000 cheque for Beyond Blue.

GOOD CAUSE: Zoetis' Mark Willis, Lance Williams, John Reeves, Beyond Blue's Marcia Harkins, Patrice O'Brien and Zoetis' Lincoln Mortlock and Fred Schwenke with a $100,000 cheque for Beyond Blue.

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Animal health company Zoetis has donated $100,000 to Beyond Blue.

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A significant sum of money raised by an animal health company will be channeled into helping rural communities experiencing tough times.

Beyond Blue will used the $100,000 donation from Zoetis to support people, such as farmers and their families, in regional communities experiencing hardship through disasters such as drought or financial hardship.

It's the fourth consecutive donation by Zoetis which has raised $400,000 since 2016 for the charity by donating $5 from each sale of the company's cattle, sheep, pig, poultry and goat vaccines and drenches.

Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman said the organisation was honoured to receive the funding.

"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," 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."

She said the funding would go towards Beyond Blue's Support Service which allowed people in need to reach out to a counsellor for advice and support.

The service on average costs $48 per contact and people can reach out for help by phone, web chat or email.


"We have been seeing a steady increase in the number of calls coming in, reaching out in a time of need," Ms Harman said.

She described it as a "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."

According to Beyond Blue, 45 per cent of Australian people will experience a mental health condition once in their lifetime, including one in seven people who will live with depression.


Zoetis Australia and New Zealand vice-president Lance Williams said the risk of mental illness was 40pc higher in regional areas compared to their metropolitan counterparts.


He said Zoetis staff travelled more than two million kilometres annually and saw first-hand the effects drought played on livestock and subsequently farming communities.

"We're incredibly passionate and wholeheartedly 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," Mr Williams said.

If this article causes you distress or if you require help or information, phone Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 63 or visit beyondblue.org.au.

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