As we begin Mental Health Month (October), TAFE Western Counsellor and Psychologist Rachael Buckerfield is encouraging everyone in the Orange district to participate in a number of special events planned to help raise awareness about mental illness.
Ms Buckerfield said a community barbecue will be held 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.
“We would like everyone to come along to learn more about mental health and what services are available to them,” Ms Buckerfield said.
“There will be a number of local mental health organisations with stalls on the day, providing information about how to access help and support in Orange. This will foster a ‘no wrong door’ approach, where accessing any of our services will help you on the path to better mental health.
“If people from all walks of life can come together at an event like this we will help reduce the stigma involved with mental illness and develop a healthy and positive attitude in our town.”
Ms Buckerfield said as well as the barbecue on October 21 there will be a “mindful minute”, where young people, businesses and community members across the region will be invited to simultaneously engage in one thought-provoking mental illness minute at 9.30am.
Ms Buckerfield said Mental Health Month is celebrated Australia-wide in October every year, but this is the first time a number of Orange community organisations had banded together to make a difference.
“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 have joined forces in an attempt to break down the stigma and raise awareness about mental health issues affecting our region’s young people,” Mrs Buckerfield said.
“Unfortunately mental health in young people is often an issue that is neglected and not spoken about enough despite one in four experiencing mental illness in any one year.
“I’m really pleased that our local message for Mental Health Month this year of “Let’s Talk About The Elephant in the Room” is making a real difference.
“You may have seen a number of giant elephant cut outs placed in all of Orange’s high schools and a number of community places in October to help the campaign. These elephants are encouraging young people, their parents, family and friends, to start talking about all aspects of mental health, wellbeing and how to seek help.”