Zoetis and Beyond Blue shine the spotlight on women’s mental health as they continue to support Australians living in rural communities
Home / Articles / Dog / Zoetis and Beyond Blue shine the spotlight on women’s mental health as they continue to support Australians living in rural communities
With one third of Australian women living in rural and regional areas, women play a crucial role in the growth and future of regional economies and communities. Unfortunately, women experience some mental health conditions at higher rates than men. Women are often juggling the demands of trying to be a perfect worker, parent, partner and friend, which can be nothing short of exhausting. And when women feel they have fallen short of these standards, they can be quick to self-criticise.
Now in its sixth year, leading Animal Health company Zoetis will continue to support the mental health challenges faced by people living in rural Australia through its crucial partnership with Beyond Blue, committing to raise up to $100,000 for the Beyond Blue Support Service in 2021.
Zoetis, who works closely with rural Australia through interactions with the country’s farming community, agricultural stores, veterinarians and their families, has helped raise $500,000 in the past five years by donating $5 from each sale of the company’s livestock, pig and poultry vaccines and drenches. The money raised goes directly to the Beyond Blue Support Service to continue helping people living in remote areas who experience higher rates of mental health conditions and suicide. To date, thanks to Zoetis’s donation, over 8,000 people have been able to get the support they need through the service.
“Zoetis is proud to once again be supporting Beyond Blue and the important work they do,” says Lance Williams, Zoetis Senior Vice President and Cluster Lead, Australia and New Zealand. “We knew that supporting mental health in rural Australia was critical when we first embarked on this support campaign, but we didn’t know then just how important the partnership would be. Together we have made strong progress in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of rural families and individuals, and we are passionate about helping again this year.”
In addition to everyday demands, major life transitions such as pregnancy, motherhood and menopause can create physical and emotional stresses for women. Negative life experiences such as infertility and perinatal loss, poverty, discrimination, violence, unemployment and isolation also impact on women’s mental health and wellbeing. In addition, unequal economic and social conditions can contribute to women’s higher risk of depression.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said the Beyond Blue Support Service continued to experience increased demand since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whatever the reason, Beyond Blue wants people to know that no problem is too big or small to reach out. Sometimes, just talking to someone can make a difference.
“Through this partnership, Beyond Blue can support many people in rural areas and we are very grateful for the ongoing support from Zoetis.”
The Beyond Blue Support Service offers free and immediate counselling, advice and referrals via phone, webchat or email. In addition to the support service, Beyond Blue has resources and information online at www.beyondblue.org.au, including Online Forums which offer peer support in a safe, moderated setting.
For more information on how you can help Zoetis to raise vital funds to support mental health in our rural communities through its partnership with Beyond Blue please visit www.zoetis.com.au
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 available on 1800 512 348.
Julie Andreazza’s resilience and ability to overcome the challenges life had thrown her way were on show for the world to see when in 2018, she won the NSW Farmer of the Year Award.
It was a high point in Julie’s life and recognition for years of hard work on and off the farm.
What most people wouldn’t have known when Julie accepted the award were the depths she had risen from to get there. In addition to the devastating impact of drought, she had experienced grief, mourning and mental illness in the years leading up to the honour and came out the other side with an inspiring message of hope and courage.
The mother of four adult children and business partner with her husband of 32 years said her life first began to unravel when she received the shock news of her father’s death, two days before Christmas in 2015.
“Receiving the news was like a road train hit me and my life has never been the same since,” Mrs Andreazza said.
Not long after, her daughter opened up about a trauma that had happened to her years earlier. Julie was shattered beyond words.
“It is not something any parent is ever prepared to hear – it’s not something you can be taught how to handle,” she said.
While Julie and her husband Glen began the process of supporting their daughter and caring for her mental health, the family received a new blow – Glen suffered Myocarditis and was 24 hours away from a heart transplant.
Julie’s own mental health had deteriorated at this point.
“I spiralled into depression, not able to cope with the trauma, grief and pain that had engulfed my life in such a short space of time,” she said. Julie was diagnosed with depression and suicidal ideation.
“Eventually I was medicated and began treatment with a wonderful psychologist and started doing ok,” she said.
Julie credits her treatment team, husband, children, GP, support from Beyond Blue and her friends, for helping her manage these challenges and come out the other side with a new outlook and renewed optimism.
“My mental health has taught me to be grateful for every day and keep trying to be the best version of myself, which is why I applied with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and, after being accepted last year, am now halfway through the national program which trains rural, regional and remote people from all over Australia to be better leaders,” Mrs Andreazza said. “Because that is my goal now. To lead by example, to pay it forward.”
Julie’s advice for farmers around the nation dealing with mental health conditions while trying to juggle the demands of managing or working on a farm is to lean on the people you trust.
“It was so important for me that my family stuck together and supported one another. For people that may not have that, my advice would be to find people who they can call on to help lift some of the workload and burden, so you can focus on your health,” she said.
Lisa’s family were doing what they do best – managing their vegetable farms and helping to feed hundreds of thousands of Victorians – when she noticed a sudden change in her teenage daughter, Sarah.
Sarah was a bright, bubbly and gregarious girl. She was a hard-working student who played piano, violin and competitive sport, until, seemingly out of nowhere, she had become withdrawn, sad and complained of stomach aches and not wanting to go to school.
“It all seemed to happen quite suddenly. We didn’t know what the problem was and mental health wasn’t on our radar at all,” said Lisa.
They went through the difficult process of receiving a diagnosis and eventually learned that Sarah had obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
“I was completely overwhelmed with concern and worry. I had thoughts like what’s going to happen? Will she get through this? What does this mean for the rest of her life?”
Facing uncertainty and fear for her daughter’s future, Lisa got proactive and learned as much as she could – she researched evidence-based information on OCD, she spoke to specialists and called the Beyond Blue Support Service regularly.
With a new treating team in place, Sarah’s condition improved over time and Lisa’s concerns dissipated. She began to look to the future with hope and confidence.
“Recovery can mean a million different things to a million different people, but for us it meant a fully functional life, an even playing field for her education and the ability to do all the things a young girl would want to do, like sport, art, travel and relationships.
Looking back on how she helped her daughter and family through that time, Lisa had some advice for parents about to embark on a similar challenge.
“If you get the family stuff right at home, you can get through this. The love and support of family is a huge part of treating and healing from mental health conditions,” she said.
“It’s important to also engage help for yourself. I spoke to a mental health coach, who educated and supported me brilliantly and really helped me understand what Sarah was going through, how to respond to Sarah’s needs around the house and deal with school.”
For others out there trying to juggle the difficult task of managing a farm or property while caring for a loved one with a mental health condition, Lisa urged everyone to put their families first.
“It’s not always easy, because most farmers will tell you that they never get a day away from work, but you do have to put your family first. Lean on colleagues, staff and support networks and use technology to stay connected where you can.
“Remember to make some time for yourself – give yourself plenty of daily ‘you time’ and make sure you do what you can to reduce your risk of burnout.”
As the world’s leading animal health company, Zoetis is driven by a singular purpose: to nurture our world and humankind by advancing care for animals. After nearly 70 years innovating ways to predict, prevent, detect, and treat animal illness, Zoetis continues to stand by those raising and caring for animals worldwide – from livestock farmers to veterinarians and pet owners. The company’s leading portfolio and pipeline of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and technologies make a difference in over 100 countries. In 2020, Zoetis generated revenue of $6.7 billion with ~11,300 employees. For more, visit www.zoetis.com.
About Beyond Blue
Beyond Blueis an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in Australia. Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone achieve their best possible mental health, regardless of age, background and wherever they live. Beyond Blue works to give everyone in Australia the confidence to speak openly about anxiety, depression and suicide – both to seek support when they need it and to check in with those close to them – and tackle prejudice and discrimination wherever they exist.Beyond Blue’s tools, resources and services create mentally healthy environments. Through dedicated programs, Beyond Blue supports schools, universities, workplaces and community organisations to protect and promote good mental health.