Turning up heat to fight black dog
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.