Latest Save Our Mates roadshow wraps up

Latest Save Our Mates roadshow wraps up

Events
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After the latest roadshow wrapped up last Friday, the Save Our Mates travelling mental health campaign has been highly successful, according to founder and speaker Anthony Hart.

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After the latest roadshow wrapped up last Friday, the Save Our Mates travelling mental health campaign has been highly successful, according to founder and speaker Anthony Hart.

With two roadshows across the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas in February and March, the latest roadshows travelled through the Riverland in October and again last week, and Mr Hart said the session had been received well.

"The community rallied around what we were doing, we had much larger numbers than the October roadshow, the people that left shared a lot of those messages with their friends and family, and we saw a lot of people come back, with other members of the community," he said.

Hope Assistance Local Tradies founder Jeremy Forbes, as well as Warren Davies, The Unbreakable Farmer, presented the October roadshows, while Roma Aloisi, en.light.en Consultancies, and Mr Hart were speakers at last week's sessions, with the talks being "real, honest, and vulnerable".

"I think the best talks are when you stand in front of a group and are vulnerable about sharing stuff that is quite private, and by doing that, you invite other people to learn from that, and a lot of times they open up themselves, and put their hand up and say they're going through exactly the same thing.

"We've each been through our own story with this, and come out the other side.

Mr Hart said while a lot of mental health support providers service the Riverland area, this was the first time low intervention suicide talks had been run in the region.

"When people don't know what they're going to, and it's brand new, gaining the awareness (for the event) is the hardest part, but once you break the back of it, you start to see some really good numbers," he said.

If you broke your foot or had a heart problem you would go (to a doctor) straight away, but anything mental, related to your brain, it seems to be out of bounds. - ANTHONY HART

Sessions included presentations from the speakers, as well as question time at the end, and Mr Hart said people were particularly keen to hear how to approach others, or spot warning signs that friends may be struggling.

"If you've got friends who don't seem as happy as they have been previously, its so great to go up and approach them," he said.

"You don't go up and straightaway say are you okay, you provide some evidence about how they've been presenting differently to how they have been previously, and then is the time to say say are you okay?"

"It's part of the brand that we want to change, if you go up to someone and say 'are you okay', just about one hundred per cent (of people) will say they're fine," he said.

Mr Hart urged people who were struggling with their mental health to seek help immediately.

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"Confide in a really close mate, go to a doctor early, and talk about it like any other health issue," he said.

"If you broke your foot or had a heart problem you would go straight away, but anything mental, related to your brain, it seems to be out of bounds."

Mr Hart said support was available, and said the federal government's Regional Access support line was an excellent way for those living in rural areas to reach out.

"Only people in the country can dial, it gives three free sessions with a clinical psychologist who has at least four years of experience," he said.

He also said the Question Persuade Evaluate program - a short online course to help people recognise warning signs in others and help offer support - was a helpful tool.

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