Sober in the Country (SITC) was born from one outback woman's near-death experience as an ‘’invisible alcoholic’’ who was so high-functioning that she was literally dying in front of her own friends; her subsequent recovery against the odds, and her wish to be the change for others like her.
This woman is founder and CEO Shanna Whan; and it was her (common) experience, recovery, and complete inability to access help or support in the process that would inspire her to spend five years volunteering to support others in the rural demographic just like her cannot get help: the working rural men and women too readily dismissed by society, health professionals, and mates as needing support because they appear, superficially, to be ‘’okay’’ ...
Shanna reached others and consistently broke down one of Australia’s most complex and fragile conversations nationally through nothing more than honesty, humour, hard slog, and an utterly fierce determination to help others.For her efforts she was an AgriFutures NSW/ACT Rural Woman of the Year finalist in 2018; a finalist in the Harvey Norman ‘’Shine’’ Awards in 2019, and, recently she’s also been nominated for Regional Woman of the Year for New South Wales.
Shanna’s philosophy is that awards and accolades - while appreciated and a great honour - will only ever really mean something for her when policy change happens from the top and when the gap is acknowledged with the full weight it deserves to a largely invisible demographic who are slipping through the cracks at an unacceptable rate.
She has a firm belief that we must focus on ‘’sustainable people’’ just as we focus on ‘’sustainable agricultural systems’’ and that the future of Australia literally lies within ensuring the skilled rural men and women who live remotely and work either directly or in associated food and fibre production are adequately cared for as global food production, climate, and other challenges continue to change the face of Australia.
In late 2019, SITC was granted official charity status by the ACNC and became Sober in the Country Ltd. Shanna was also featured on Australian Story. Click here to watch.
''truth is I am fighting for those without a voice''
- Shanna Whan