Turn­ing up heat to fight black dog

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Men­tal ill­ness has many guises. It can sur­face as a mild, creep­ing sense of fore­bod­ing or de­velop as a se­ri­ous de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion as well as ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

For the av­er­age per­son blessed in never hav­ing this cloud or shadow hang­ing over the shoul­der or ‘black dog’ snapping at the heels, it can be in­cred­i­bly hard to com­pre­hend, let alone un­der­stand.

But it is real and so se­ri­ous it can crip­ple and kill and in turn dis­man­tle fam­i­lies, friend­ships and in some

cases whole com­mu­ni­ties. Yet for some rea­son so­ci­ety, un­til rel­a­tively re­cently, has had a habit of balk­ing at for­mal­is­ing ap­pro­pri­ate man­age­ment or in­ter­ven­tion health ser­vices to deal with this is­sue.

We all know about de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and stress dis­or­ders and have heard about a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions pro­vid­ing ad­vice and di­rec­tion.

But the re­al­ity is that it can be the ran­dom na­ture of this com­plex ill­ness that can threaten a life or lives at the prover­bial drop of the hat.

And it is that need to be able to pro­vide im­me­di­ate spe­cial­ist at­ten­tion that is driv­ing a com­mu­nity project to de­velop a 24-hour men­tal-health cri­sis cen­tre in Hor­sham.

Make no mis­take, the Wim­mera is as vul­ner­a­ble as any­where in the coun­try to the im­pact of men­tal ill­ness.

As com­mu­nity driv­ers of this project were quick to point out – we all know some­one who has bat­tled or is bat­tling this curse.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the re­gional com­mu­nity and au­thor­i­ties re­spond to this call, which in­volves es­tab­lish­ing an im­me­di­ate-re­sponse cen­tre op­er­at­ing with or along­side es­tab­lished ser­vice providers.

We know Wim­mera peo­ple can quickly re­spond to a need to make things hap­pen, but money, and that’s what it will take to cre­ate and main­tain a new ser­vice cen­tre, can be hard to find. What we do know is that there are too many re­gional sto­ries of dis­as­ters in­volv­ing peo­ple suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­ness and if we can pre­vent only one it will be money well spent. • Peo­ple can visit www.beyond­blue. org.au or www.life­line.org.au for in­for­ma­tion and sup­port about anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and sui­cide. Peo­ple in need of cri­sis sup­port and sui­cide pre­ven­tion ser­vices can call Life­line’s 24-hour hotline on 13 11 14. If a life is in danger, peo­ple should call po­lice on triple zero.

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