Ablett guest speaker at TIMP fundraiser

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

AFL star Gary Ablett has en­cour­aged com­mu­nity mem­bers to sur­round them­selves with peo­ple that sup­port them when fac­ing men­tal health or sub­stance is­sues.

Gary, and Gee­long team­mate Ja­maine Jones, will be guest speak­ers at an aware­ness and fundrais­ing night be­ing hosted by The Ice Melt­down Project in Drouin on Novem­ber 22.

Im­pressed by the work and suc­cess sto­ries he has heard from TIMP founder Jan­ice Ablett, Gary said he was keen to as­sist his aunty raise vi­tal funds for the pro­gram and pro­mote its value in the com­mu­nity.

“This is a great pro­gram to help peo­ple get off drugs and I think it is great Jan­ice has ded­i­cated her life to its suc­cess,” he said.

Gary said the AFL and play­ers as­so­ci­a­tion had done a lot of work to sup­port men­tal health pro­grams.

He said he and Ja­maine would share their own AFL sto­ries in the hope it may help oth­ers

“As AFL play­ers we are re­ally looked up to and we have a plat­form to have some in­flu­ence.

“But it doesn’t mat­ter what in­dus­try you work in, we all have our strug­gles.

“I have seen it (men­tal health is­sues) with some of my team mates. We are a high pres­sure in­dus­try and we are ex­pected to per­form.

At 34, Gary said he spent a lot of time men­tor­ing young play­ers en­ter­ing the AFL, help­ing them ad­just to the pres­sure and de­mands of AFL, in­clud­ing mov­ing away from fam­i­lies and of­ten mov­ing in­ter­state.

“I have seen plenty of young men strug­gling with the de­mands of AFL foot­ball.

“I will be telling peo­ple how im­por­tant it is to sur­round your­self with peo­ple that sup­port you. I hope ev­ery­one can take some­thing away from our sto­ries,” he said.

Jan­ice said there was so much men­tal health and sub­stance abuse in the com­mu­nity that peo­ple were not aware of.

“I am see­ing more and more peo­ple af­fected by men­tal health. Peo­ple don’t know what to do.

“There needs to be bet­ter fol­low up be­cause peo­ple get lost in the sys­tem. Peo­ple just don’t un­der­stand the im­pact men­tal health has on the com­mu­nity.

“I get so frus­trated with the ‘not in my back­yard’ at­ti­tude. Peo­ple are suf­fer­ing in si­lence and then they turn to sub­stance abuse and de­velop an ad­dic­tion.

“Sub­stance abuse is a Band-Aid to cover the pain. A lot of peo­ple have is­sues, but they can’t talk be­cause of the pain so they use (drugs) to numb the pain,” she said.

In the past four and a half years, Jan­ice said TIMP had changed peo­ple’s lives.

But, she said it was time to step up the pro­gram and let peo­ple know it is okay to reach out.

Fol­low­ing Baw Baw Shire’s re­fusal of its pro­posal to es­tab­lish a cen­tre at Athlone, Ms Ablett said TIMP was still des­per­ate to es­tab­lish a per­ma­nent premises.

“We go to peo­ple’s houses, we go to cafes. We have ther­apy ses­sions and gym ses­sions but we need a cen­tre.

Jan­ice said fund­ing was vi­tal to con­tinue the pro­gram and the aware­ness night would help to raise funds.

As well as Gary and Ja­maine, other guest speak­ers will in­clude Dr John O’Donoghue and TIMP clients.

Jan­ice said it was a night for fam­i­lies, not just par­ents.

The men­tal health and sub­stance abuse night will be held at the Lyn Kelly Sta­dium at Drouin Sec­ondary Col­lege on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 22 at 6.30pm. Tick­ets are $25 and can be pur­chased at: www.try­book­

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