Mental Health Month in Orange – Breaking down the barriers


ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: TAFE Western's Certificate II Pre-Apprentice Construction students Nick Combs, Avrahami Shehariah and Harry Taylor add the finishing touches to one of the elephants that will distributed around Orange to help raise awareness for Mental Health Month.

Mental Health Month is celebrated Australia-wide in October every year. For the first time in Orange, a number of local community organisations will join forces to help break down the stigma and raise awareness about mental health issues affecting our region’s young people.

TAFE Western, Orange City Council, Youth Action Council, Kinross Wolaroi School, Canobolas Rural Technology High School, School-Link, CareWest, Orange Suicide Prevention Network, Orange Men’s Shed and Western NSW Local Health District will band together to host a number of events in October, with the aim of breaking down the barriers young people face when it comes to mental health issues.

“In Australia, one in four of our young people experience a mental illness every year,” TAFE Western Counsellor and psychologist Rachael Buckerfield said.

“According to census data, approximately 35 per cent of Orange’s population is under the age of 25, meaning over a third of our city is made up of young people who could be affected by mental illness.

“Mental health in young people is often an issue that is neglected and not spoken about enough – so we feel now’s the time to change that.

“We have launched a local message for Mental Health Month this year of “Let’s Talk About The Elephant in the Room” aimed at encouraging young people, their parents, family and friends, to start talking about all aspects of mental health, wellbeing and how to seek help.”

A number of giant wooden elephant cut outs, created by TAFE Western’s Certificate II Pre-Apprentice Construction students and painted by TAFE Western’s Painting and Decorating Students, will be placed in all of Orange’s high schools and a number of community places in October to help the campaign.

“The elephants will be decorated by the young people of Orange to portray what mental health and wellbeing means to them but they will also serve as a reminder about youth mental health issues,” Ms Buckerfield said.

Ms Buckerfield said a number of events were planned for October, some taking place in conjunction with the Orange Youth Arts Festival. The first will be a community barbecue on October 14 at Orange TAFE College from 10am to 2pm, with all high school and TAFE students, as well as community members invited to attend.

“As well as the barbecue, on October 21 we will have a “Mindful Minute”, where young people, businesses and community members across the region will be invited to simultaneously engage in mindfulness for one minute at 9.30am,” Ms Buckerfield said.

For more information about Mental Health Month in Orange, find Orange Youth Mental Health Month on Facebook or phone Ms Buckerfield on 6391 5696 or email