Beyond blue offers support to rural residents

Beyond blue offers support to rural residents

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Beyond Blue's Marcia Hawkins and Patrice OBrien (centre) with Zoetis' Lance Williams, John Reeves, Lincoln Mortlock and Fred Schwenke.

Beyond Blue's Marcia Hawkins and Patrice OBrien (centre) with Zoetis' Lance Williams, John Reeves, Lincoln Mortlock and Fred Schwenke.

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A partnership in regional Australia is helping raise up to $10,000 to support charity Beyond Blue in 2019.

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A partnership in regional Australia is helping raise up to $10,000 to support charity Beyond Blue in 2019.

Animal health company Zoetis has helped raise $300,000 in the past three years by donating $5 from each sale of the company's livestock, pig and poultry vaccines and drenches, and will do so again between July 15 to October 31, up to $10,000.

The money raised goes directly to Beyond Blue's Support Service to continue to help more people in rural communities than anywhere else in Australia.

Beyond Blue lead clinical adviser Grant Blashki said stressful events that happened together, such as droughts, floods and financial worries, had a widespread effect.

"They can really take a toll on people's mental health well beyond the farm gate, it ripples through our regional communities and touches everyone," he said.

"If farmers are under pressure, they can struggle to afford things like animal feed, equipment and other items which they buy in their local communities, putting pressure on service industries down the line.

"For people living in farming communities, 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."

Zoetis Vice President, Australia and New Zealand Lance Williams said Beyond Blue did important work and this fundraising drive had helped provide tangible contributions to raise awareness of mental health challenges and help fund much-needed services that directly assist rural families.

"We are passionate about the importance of good mental wellbeing and look forward to helping again this year," he said.

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers free contact with counsellors by phone, webchat or email, and at $48 per contact, this donation will help more than 2000 people get the support they need through the Beyond Blue service.

In addition to the Support Service, Beyond Blue's online resources and support can help people turn their lives around, with more than 100,000 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.

Beyond Blue chief executive officer Georgie Harman said the money raised by Zoetis goes directly to their phone and online services, which were an excellent way for people to get the assistance they need, regardless of location.

"In fact, it's very encouraging to see that people in rural and remote communities access the Beyond Blue online peer-peer forums at a proportionally higher rate than people living in metro regions - 45 per cent of forum users live outside metro areas," she said.

"There are many ways people in rural Australia can be supported, and support each other, when times are tough, and thanks to generous donations such as this one, Beyond Blue can continue to offer free support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

  • Details: Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au.
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