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It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Month – be part of the conversation

Published on 11 October 2019
  • Have your say
  • Health and wellbeing
Mental Health Awareness

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (5 to 11 October) and World Mental Health Day (10 October), Council is opening up the conversation on mental illness to help shed a more positive light on promoting good mental health and wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness Week is a national campaign led by the Mental Health Foundation of Australia. It aims to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for everyone.

To help spread the mental health awareness message, Council hosted several important community events:

The Ripple Effect - Friday 11 October

The Ringwood Station forecourt came to life on Friday 11 October as Council’s The Ripple Effect event used art and music to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.

Councillor Nora Lamont, who spearheaded the event, said The Ripple Effect was all about connecting with community services, encouraging communication, and caring for members of the community who had been affected by mental illness and suicide.

“Council is proud to have hosted The Ripple Effect, which provided a chance for the community to come together in a safe, inspiring and positive way,” Cr Lamont said.

“Last year’s event sparked a keen interest from many who came down to Ringwood’s Station forecourt to learn more about the day, and this year didn’t disappoint as we had another great turnout,” she said.

The event’s theme of ‘Connect, Communicate, Care’ encouraged people to come together to be part of creating a positive ‘ripple effect’ in the community.

“Events such as this not only provide a positive approach to tackling the issue that affects one in five Australians, but also helps to shed a new light in the mental health conversation, making it easier for people to understand how to get help or support someone facing mental health challenges,” Cr Lamont said.

The event featured stalls, with information and displays from local service providers and community groups, including Lifeline, Communities of Wellbeing, DHHS, Each, Youth Support and Advocacy Service. An interactive art installation, activities, giveaways, food carts and performances by the colourful Street Sweepers band added to the positive atmosphere of the day.

The Ripple Effect was held as part of Victoria’s Mental Health Month (1-31 October).

The event was developed in partnership with Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN), Metro Trains, and community mental health service, Neami.

StressLess and look after your mental wellbeing

Council was proud to host StressLess, a free community event on Wednesday 9 October at Karralyka, designed to help people learn the proven methods to reduce stress and manage anxiety.

Stress occurs when you perceive the demands placed on you – such as work, school or relationships – exceed your ability to cope.

Hundreds of people of across the Maroondah community attended the two-hour session to hear from mental health advocate and author/illustrator of The Black Dog Institute Matthew Johnstone. Matthew spoke about the proven methods to reduce stress, manage anxiety and lift your mood.

Johnstone has written a series of books based on his own experience living with depression, with his most well-known book I Had A Black Dog becoming the basis of a World Health Organisation campaign about depression.

The book features a forlorn-looking Labrador overshadowing people with depression – giving a physical form to a condition that Johnstone describes as “a loss of joy”.

The event included an expo of service providers who shared information on topics such as healthy eating, animal therapy and physical exercise.

This event was held in partnership with Maroondah City Council, EACH, Eastern Regional Libraries and Neami National.

Mental Health Awareness Month - be part of the conversation

Council continually works closely with the community, including people with lived experience of mental illness, carers, service providers and government, to enhance the mental health wellbeing of all local residents.

Council is inviting the community to be part of the conversation to build on what is working well and what else needs to be in place to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of adults, children, young people and their families.

We want you to have a chance to let us know what is important to you when you think about your own mental health and wellbeing, and that of others.

This can prevent us from seeking help when we find we are not coping as well as normal or when we feel overwhelmed by life. Talking about our mental health is one of the best steps we can take to being to improving our wellbeing.

Taking part is simple – visit the Your Say Maroondah website and you can share a single idea, interact with other people’s ideas or send us a written submission.

You can have your say until Thursday 31 October, 2019.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 in Australia is ‘Do you see what I see?’ challenges perceptions about mental illness by encouraging people to look at mental health in a more positive light in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for people to seek help and support.

The theme for Mental Health Week 2019 in Victoria is Mental Health - What do you know? which aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians around mental health and related issues.

If you or someone you know needs support contact LifeLine on 13 11 14, or in an emergency contact 000.

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