The True Face of Casual Alcoholism in Rural Australia

The 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will this year be held over 15-17 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania.

Joining us at the conference is Mrs Shanna Whan, Owner / Operator at Shanna Whan Health + Sober in the Country who will present on ‘The True Face of Casual Alcoholism in Rural Australia’.

Abstract

Shanna Whan is a health coach, speaker and blogger and recovered alcoholic.

She created ”Sober in the Country” in 2018 (off the back of her announcement as a Rural Woman of the Year finalist) as an informal social media platform for her rural peers and professionals to meet, gather, discuss and challenge the existing cultural relationship with alcohol in rural and regional Australia; and to help prevent alcohol-related death and disease and improve health and wellbeing for regional and rural Australians.

She has begun an honest and overdue discussion that is gathering rapid momentum and resonating far and wide across Australia.

The project was born from her own survival story: that of a regional (isolated) woman who was unable to get adequate support or care to manage or deal with PTSD, infertility, and subsequent high-functioning alcoholism that almost claimed her life.

Four years on she is healthy, well, and now a qualified health coach and sought-after speaker who is giving unprecedented insight into a previously taboo area that she says is terrifyingly common amongst our peers, Mums, Dads, and professionals – and that is the insidious epidemic she refers to as ”casual alcoholism”.

Shanna is currently working to secure national funding to take the SITC platform from social media and onto an Australia-wide and user-friendly digital platform that will provide a safe, interactive space for engagement via discussions, webinars and workshops.

Her speaking, blogging, and work discusses with brutal candour, relatability, and humour why what we are doing at a remote and rural / regional level isn’t effective – and how we can do it so much better. Her talk will cover why the opposite of addiction is connection.

Key Learnings:
1. How we are still missing what the many ‘modern-day or casual alcoholics’ in our midst and in our work places, homes, etc.
2. Why we must readdress the rural model for addiction.
3. How we can do this via challenging and changing models such as ”alcoholics anonymous” will never work in regions in which anonymity is actually not possible.

Biography

Shanna Whan was recently announced as a finalist in the 2018 NSW / ACT Rural Woman of the Year awards for her work in tackling, talking about, and giving unprecedented insight into the complex discussion that is rural alcohol abuse. Four years ago, this business woman almost lost her own life after PTSD and infertility sent her to her ‘rock bottom’. She now travels, blogs, and speaks to her peers and professionals about the true face of casual alcoholism among peers and professionals in rural Australia. She is challenging what we currently ‘do’ and how we can do it better.

For more information on the upcoming 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium please visit anzmh.asn.au/rrmh