A leading animal health business, Zoetis, has reached its goal of raising $100,000 for the Beyond Blue Support Service to support mental health initiatives and reduce stigma around mental illness in rural and regional Australia.

Since 2016, Zoetis has raised $800,000 for the Beyond Blue Support Service by donating $5 from each sale of the company’s livestock, pig, and poultry vaccines and drenches.

Lance Williams, Zoetis senior vice president and cluster lead, Australia and New Zealand, said the company was proud to continue supporting Beyond Blue and the important work they do.

“Zoetis works closely with rural Australia through interactions with the country’s farming community, agricultural stores, veterinarians and their families,” Mr Williams said.

“We are proud to once again be supporting Beyond Blue and the important work they do.

“The farming community has endured many challenges over the years. Through economic insecurity, social isolation, loneliness, and insecure work, we’re seeing an increase in many of the factors that drive mental health challenges. Rural Australia and country people are stoic and display considerable courage; however, the impact on mental health has been significant for many.”

According to a survey by Beyond Blue, increasing interest rates, inflation, rising living costs, and concerns about the future are among the primary causes of community concern for people living in regional Australia.

However, despite the importance of seeking help for mental health, many Australians are hesitant to do so, especially in rural areas where there is a stigma surrounding mental illness.

Research shows that being connected to others is crucial for mental well-being and can serve as a protective factor against anxiety and depression.

Greg Jennings, Beyond Blue’s chief engagement officer, said isolation and difficulty accessing mental health services were some of the challenges for people in the country.

“That is why social connection within regional and rural communities is so important, especially due to the tyranny of distance,” Mr Jennings said.

“Social connection is a key ingredient for mental health and wellbeing, and it’s more important than ever for people to stay connected.

“We know that half of all people experiencing a mental health condition don’t seek professional support. Many people think their problems aren’t serious enough to seek help, or they’ll get better without help, but it’s best to seek support early to prevent issues from snowballing into bigger problems.”

The money raised by Zoetis goes directly to the Beyond Blue Support Service to continue helping people living in remote areas, which, to date, has helped more than 14,000 people get the support they need.

“Together, we have made strong progress in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of those who live in rural Australia, and we are passionate about helping again this year,” Mr Williams said.

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers free and immediate counselling, advice and referrals via phone, webchat or email.

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 24/7 at beyondblue.org.au/support-service/chat, and you can join the Online forums for free.

For more information about depression and anxiety, visit beyondblue.org.au