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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Creating positive mental health in the community

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Ken Bright and other members of the Mullum Men’s Shed and the Repair Cafe doing the mental health first aid (MHFA) training with Jane Conway, MHFA accredited trainer. Photo Jeff Dawson.
Ken Bright and other members of the Mullum Men’s Shed and the Repair Cafe doing the mental health first aid (MHFA) training with Jane Conway, MHFA accredited trainer. Photo Jeff Dawson.

October is mental health month and the Mullum Men’s Shed and the Repair Cafe have come together to work on positive mental health and completed the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course on Sunday.

‘Anxiety, depression and substance use problems are the three most common mental health issues,’ said MHFA accredited trainer Jane Conway.

It is estimated that twenty per cent of the population each year experience a mental health issue and that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life time.

‘It has been an excellent experience doing the MHFA,’ said Ken Bright, president of Mulum Men’s Shed and co-ordinator of the Repair Cafe in Mullumbimby.

‘It is like using first aid. You assess the situation, provide support and call for help. It is about people working together, you don’t have to be a psychologist.’

Going through the training gives people an insight not only into their only mental health but also helps to break down the myths and stigmas that surround mental health.

‘People get an understanding of the main mental health problems and issues and what the key signs and symptoms are and are able to be alerted to them,’ Jane said.

‘It can also really increase peoples confidence to have conversations about suicide, deal with psychotic episodes and anxiety and panic attacks.’

Recovering from Cyclone Debbie

Ms Conway will also be running a MHFA for the Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC) who are still seeing the effect of Cyclone Debbie on people’s mental health six months on.

The MDNC is still seeing community member effected by the floods; assisting with DSS forms, helping people navigate strategies as insurance claims are reject, those who are only just coming to terms with exactly what they have lost and the grief that comes with that. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and trauma are becoming more evident,’ said Julie Williams from the MDNC.

‘This is an excellent course,’ continued Mr  Bright.

‘It’s not just suitable for a workplace situation it is for everyday life. When I can self connect I can be available for others and this has given me the chance to understand my own mental health.’

For more information on MHFA check out their website here or contact Jane Conway on 0429 898 200 or [email protected]

For 24 hour confidential counselling and support phone services:

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36

Australian Drug and Alcohol Information Service (ADIS) – 1800 422 599

Mental Health Access Line – 1800 011 511


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