Combined Rotary Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the combined Rotary Clubs of Gladstone are inviting everyone in the community to get informed and get inspired at their Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair from 11-4pm this Saturday, October 7 at the Gladstone PCYC.

For a gold-coin donation going towards Australian Rotary Health, one of the largest donors to mental health research in the country, visitors can enjoy free workshops, guest speakers or the opportunity to have a chat with one of the many mental health service providers setting up stalls at the fair.

Anyone can experience mental illness—it’s more common than you may think. Nearly half (45%) of Australians will experience a mental illness at some stage of their life.

Sometimes the disadvantages and isolation people with a mental illness feel can be more disabling than the mental illness itself, so the way we behave around our family, friends and colleagues living with mental illness can have a big impact on their lives and recovery.

John Whitten will be running one in a series of safeTalk courses at the MHWF, pre-registration for this three-hour workshop, which trains people to recognize behaviour preceding suicide, is essential.

“This is everybody’s business,” Wendy Brading chair of the MHWF organising committee said.

The safeTalk program earned Mr Whitten a nomination for the 2017 Australian of the Year awards and counters the statement often heard after a suicide from family or friends that “there were no signs”.

“We talk about the signs, they can be subtle,” Ms Brading said.

Part of the reason for negative attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental illness is a lack of knowledge and a fear of the unknown. To combat this, Australian Rotary Health runs the awareness campaign “Lifting the Lid on Mental Health”.

Gladstone’s Rotaract Club will be running a hat-making stall at the MHWF so you can make your own “lid” for International Hat Day for Mental Health awareness, on October 10.

“The important thing to note is the combined Rotary Clubs are running the fair and all of the guest-speakers and workshops are offering their services as in-kind support,” Ms Brading said.

“There will be a real cross-section of community information at the stalls – all in the sphere of mental health and wellbeing – so you can approach any of these services and learn what they do and how they can help.”

Gladstone Communities for Children will be setting up a play area within the main hall where younger family members can play so the grown-ups can have a quiet conversation with one of the many services represented at the Fair.

A last-minute donation by Rio Tinto’s community fund has enabled organisers to set up a baby animal petting zoo, there will also be live music all day, children’s entertainment and food available for purchase.