Com­mu­nity in heal­ing mode

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - Shire pres­i­dent Pam Town­shend with ther­a­pist Mary-Jo Duffy, Mar­garet River

Since the Os­ming­ton tragedy, we have all been ques­tion­ing deeply. What is hap­pen­ing in our com­mu­nity? What can we do to help our com­mu­nity? We be­lieve that the an­swer lies within the ques­tion — it is our feel­ing of com­mu­nity that is heal­ing.

We have turned to each other for sup­port, love and emo­tional con­nec­tion in a time of ter­ri­ble shock. This is our great strength. We are liv­ing in a small re­gional town where com­mu­nity con­nec­tion is very real for most peo­ple.

Peo­ple have a pow­er­ful need for au­then­tic be­long­ing and pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships that re­veal to us that we are val­ued and that oth­ers care about us.

Lone­li­ness and iso­la­tion are ma­jor fac­tors in de­pres­sion and poor men­tal health.

We are im­pressed by the deep con­nec­tion our Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River staff feel to­wards our com­mu­nity, which sup­ported them to jump im­me­di­ately into ac­tion to pro­vide sup­port ser­vices.

We are grate­ful for the gen­er­ous of­fers to aid com­mu­nity con­nec­tion from places such as Sun­flow­ers An­i­mal Farm and our churches.

Our chal­lenge for the fu­ture is to build on this con­nec­tion.

Do you know of peo­ple who are iso­lated and lonely? Be­long­ing to groups is im­por­tant. Reach out to oth­ers to meet reg­u­larly to talk and lis­ten.

Make sure your kids are con­nected and feel they “be­long”.

We have a mar­vel­lous vol­un­teer­ing cul­ture in our shire. We know that to give is to re­ceive. Men­tal health is an in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity, but it is also a com­mu­nity re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Think of the peo­ple in our com­mu­nity who are iso­lated and marginalised and ask your­self: “How can we give sup­port and com­pas­sion?” We are a re­silient and strong shire. Let’s build on our strengths and in­spire hope into the fu­ture through love and friend­ship.

Our great task is to suc­ceed in be­com­ing more hu­man.

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