Ablett guest speaker at TIMP fundraiser
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.trybooking.com/441496