United mes­sage to ‘talk’

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

More than 150 peo­ple who packed War­rackn­abeal Com­mu­nity Cen­tre last week heard a sim­ple but im­por­tant men­tal health mes­sage – ‘talk to some­one’.

The three words were a core mes­sage of a Hard­est Kick men­tal health fo­rum pre­sented by health pro­fes­sion­als from across the Wim­mera.

Wim­mera Pri­mary Care Part­ner­ship men­tal health of­fi­cer Lissy Johns kicked off the night with a talk about her own fam­ily tragedy.

Ru­ral Out­reach worker Mal Coutts fol­lowed by shar­ing a per­sonal story about be­ing af­fected by sui­cide.

Both talked about signs they over­looked be­cause of a lack of knowl­edge.

They also spoke of the im­por­tance of talk­ing about sui­cide and bring­ing it into the open.

Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice coun­sel­lor David Turn­bull and Ru­ral North­west Health so­cial worker San­dra Telfer in­formed at­ten­dees about var­i­ous free and con­fi­den­tial men­tal health ser­vices, while ru­ral fi­nan­cial coun­sel­lor Pat Tim­mons spoke of free fi­nan­cial ad­vice avail­able to farm­ers.

Yar­ri­ambi­ack Med­i­cal Clinic’s Dr Franklin Bu­tuyuyu talked about the sup­port GPS could pro­vide to any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health is­sues.

Guest speaker John Sud­holz pro­vided one of the high­lights of the night.

Mr Sud­holz, a for­mer foot­ball cham­pion and Be­yond Blue am­bas­sador, spoke about his strug­gle with

anx­i­ety af­ter re­turn­ing to farm­ing at Ru­pa­nyup af­ter a ca­reer as an elite foot­baller.

He said he strug­gled and felt un­able to talk to any­one about it, con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide.

He said peo­ple needed to talk to some­one if they found them­selves strug­gling.

“Talk to some­one close first and if you can’t do that, con­tact a pro­fes­sional,” he said.

“Al­ways re­mem­ber, it is okay not to be okay.”

Pre­sen­ters said peo­ple should be aware of changes in the be­hav­iour of friends and fam­ily mem­bers, and never be afraid to ask if they were okay.

Event or­gan­iser and Ru­ral North­west Health health pro­mo­tions of­fi­cer Kelsey Hamil­ton said the evening was a won­der­ful part­ner­ship of sup­port.

“Wim­mera PCP pro­vided im­por­tant fund­ing and War­rackn­abeal Neigh­bour­hood House did a great job pro­mot­ing the event,” she said.

“Peo­ple of all ages at­tended and we were amazed at the re­sponse.”

War­rack Ea­gles pres­i­dent Chris Tay­lor agreed the event was a huge suc­cess.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate Ru­ral North­west Health in­clud­ing us in such an im­por­tant event and I know our club mem­bers gained a lot from it,” he said.

“We had great rep­re­sen­ta­tion from ju­nior and se­nior play­ers as well as our vol­un­teers and the pre­sen­ters gave us all plenty to think about.

“Many of our club mem­bers have felt the pain from sui­cide and it’s good to know sup­port is avail­able to all of us.

“As a club we want to work more closely with our com­mu­nity and its ser­vices be­cause we all need to stick to­gether for our town’s fu­ture.” • 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.

IM­POR­TANT MES­SAGE: Speak­ing at a Hard­est Kick men­tal health sem­i­nar at War­rackn­abeal last week were pre­sen­ters from left, Pat Tim­mons, David Turn­bull, John Sud­holz, Mal Coutts and Lissy Johns.

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