Biggest Ever Gathering To Celebrate Mental Health Day In Nowra

Thu Sep 11, 2014

Nowra will mark Mental Health Month - and Mental Health Day on October 10 - by staging the biggest ever local gathering of people with lived experiences of mental illness, relatives, carers, support workers and the general community.

The free open-invitation BBQ event is called “Be YoUnique” – a reference to the importance of self-identity and self-esteem when going on a mental health recovery journey.

Fifteen prominent local services have joined forces to make the event possible, with primary intention of raising awareness of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing in the community.

The groups working collaboratively are RichmondPRA, Community Corrections, Southern Cross Community Housing Ltd, Family and Community Services - Housing NSW, South Coast Medical Services Aboriginal Corporation, Waminda Aboriginal Women’s Health Corporation, Oolong Corporation (Men’s Respite Healing House), ISLHD Mental Health Homeless Brokerage Project, ISLHD Rehabilitation Service (Shoalhaven), Partners In Recovery / Illawarra Shoalhaven Medicare Local, Schizophrenia Fellowship NSW, ISLHD LAMP Service, ISLHD Sub Acute Unit Shoalhaven Hospital, ISLHD Consumer Advocate / Mental Health Fellowship, Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District (ISLHD) Community Mental Health Service.

Although similar events have been staged in recent years, nothing on this scale has been attempted.

Mental Health Fellowship and Consumer Advocate Chair Jon Strang said Nowra and its surrounds was taking big strides in terms of recognising, understanding and dealing with mental illness.

“There are few people in the community who don’t have a lived experience of mental illness or at least know someone living with a mental illness,” Mr Strang said.

“It speaks volumes that so many dedicated organisations and individuals in Nowra are stepping up to the mark to put a spot light on mental illness and social and emotional wellbeing.

“This will enhance local understanding and go a long way to breaking down stigmas that sometimes still accompany mental illness.

“This is a time for everyone to think about their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others around them. It’s an opportunity to take a look at how we and others are feeling and focus on some of the things we can do to improve mental health in society.”

Speaking on behalf of the 15 organisations involved, RichmondPRA Illawarra-Shoalhaven Manager Greg Harwood said the BBQ was an important forum for people from the community at large to connect and learn about the range of local support services available, especially mental health services.

“Mental Illness isn’t something that affects a handful of people – it’s one of the biggest health and wellbeing matters we face as a community,” Mr Harwood said.

“The fact is one in five people will have a lived experience of mental illness during any 12 month period.

“An important message is that people with lived experiences of mental illness often move on to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, providing they get the right services and support at the right time.

“A typical problem is that sometimes people simply don’t know what help is available or how to access it.

“That’s why we want to use this unique event as a forum to get word out that help is available.”

Mr Harwood said everyone from the community is invited to attend.

WHEN: Friday October 10, 11:00- to 2:00pm
WHERE: Harry Sawkins Park, Nowra

Media enquiries:

Greg Harwood, RichmondPRA 0414 448 397
Jon Strang, Chair, Mental Health Fellowship and Consumer Advocate, 0467776710