Residents of Daylesford and Hepburn reported a higher incidence of long-term diagnosed mental health conditions than the Victorian average in the 2021 census.
Across the 3460 and 3461 post codes, 10.7% of respondents reported that they suffered from a long-term mental health condition including anxiety or depression. The average across the state of Victoria is 8.8%.
The most recent census was the first to ask about diagnosed health conditions including mental health.
Remoteness and isolation are major risk factors contributing to mental health issues and suicide, with suicide rates being 60% higher in rural areas than in major cities. In addition, people in outer regional, remote or very remote areas of Australia face more barriers to accessing health care than people living in metropolitan areas, making it harder for them to maintain good mental health.
Financial hardship, isolation and stigma can take a toll on those in distress, placing their mental health at risk. It’s important to remember that depression and anxiety are common conditions, not weaknesses, and with the right treatment, most people can recover. It is vital that people receive mental health support as early as possible to prevent their issues leading to more serious mental health conditions.
Beyond Blue Chief Community Officer Patrice O’Brien said the journey to better mental health can start with small actions. “It’s important to make looking after ourselves a priority and set goals for sleep, exercise and ’me‘ time,” she said. “Maintaining social connections, keeping in touch with friends and family, and being part of a community provides a supportive network. Also, understanding which tools and strategies work well for you in tough times and reaching out for that extra support when you need it are really important.”
Feeling connected with others can reduce stress and build resilience. The main thing for everyone to know is that, “You are not alone and you don’t have to work things out by yourself,” Ms O’Brien said. “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.”
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.
In a continued effort to raise awareness of mental health in rural and regional Australia, leading animal health business, Zoetis, has partnered with Beyond Blue to support mental health initiatives and reduce the stigma around mental health in regional areas. Over the past six years, Zoetis has raised $600,000 for the Beyond Blue Support Service by donating $5 from each sale of the company’s livestock, pig and poultry vaccines and drenches.
“Zoetis works closely with rural Australia through interactions with the country’s farming community, agricultural stores, veterinarians and their families. We are proud to once again be supporting Beyond Blue and the important work they do,” says Lance Williams, Zoetis Senior Vice President. “The money raised goes directly to the Beyond Blue Support Service to continue helping people living in remote areas. To date, thanks to Zoetis’ donation, over 12,000 people have been able to get the support they need through the service.”
Derek Schoen, a farmer for more than 36 years, is a beef, grain and hay producer and is on Beyond Blue’s Board of Directors. “The farming community has endured many challenges over the years. “The good news is that most of us will be able to cope very well with challenges as they arise,” said Mr Schoen. “We want everyone to know that support is available and encourage people to seek advice. Asking for support is a sign of strength – not weakness.”
People can support the Zoetis initiative from July 18 to October 31, 2022. For every animal health product sold by Zoetis, they will donate $5, up to $100,000, to Beyond Blue.
For more information on how you can help Zoetis to raise vital funds to support mental health in rural communities through its partnership with Beyond Blue please visit their website.
For more information about depression and anxiety, visit Beyond Blue. 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. You can join the forums for free and download the BeyondNow app from the website.
If you, or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.