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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Mental health first aid invite from Healthy Minds

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Jackson Connellan from The Healthy Minds Club at Lennox Head. Photo David Lowe.

The inspiring young fellas at The Healthy Minds Club are offering a series of free mental health first aid classes for anyone in the community who wants to gain some life-saving skills.

The classes will be conducted by mental health emergency first aid expert Trent Chapman, with venue hire and training all covered by The Healthy Minds Club’s fundraising efforts.

Jackson Connellan from the group has already completed the training himself, and is keen to extend the opportunity to the wider Northern Rivers community.

‘We hope to fill as many of these sessions in as we can, because it saves lives,’ he said.

‘This is going to be happening at the Cultural Centre in Lennox. We might open one up in Byron as well if we get enough interest, that would be a fourth one, but the three we have booked in at the moment are 27-28 March, 26-27 June, and 25-26 September.’

Touch footy with The Healthy Minds Club and Ballina Touch. Photo Aviary Media.

Mr Connellan said The Healthy Minds Club is also expecting to run a private mental training course for the Ballina Touch Association at the end of this season.

He told Echonetdaily, ‘We’ve run two courses so far, with thirty people, but we know there’s a much larger audience which could benefit from it, so we’re opening it right up.

‘We can take twenty people in a two day session, that’s six hours on a Saturday and a Sunday.

‘There’s no expense, it’s completely covered by us, and it also gives you internationally recognised accreditation as a mental health first aid officer,’ said Mr Connellan.

Expert training on offer

Trent Chapman. Photo supplied.

Jackson Connellan has nothing but praise for Trent Chapman, who will be doing the training, and is also a fitness instructor.

‘He’s an Australian accredited mental health officer and facilitator.

‘He’s been teaching it for seven years years now in the Northern Rivers. He’s got a lot of ties in the area,’ said Mr Connellan.

‘He’s got an incredible backstory and really delivers a moving and motivating message with the course.’

As someone who’s done this training yourself, what was it like for you?

Mr Connellan said, ‘Before I went into the course, I thought I had a rough understanding of some definitions of mental illnesses, and examples of that, but once the information is in front of you, it showed me how wrong my conclusion was.

‘The course defines mental illness really well, and also mechanisms of how to cope yourself. It teaches you how to deal with situations of crisis, how to assist and aid another person,’ he said.

Jackson Connellan at Lennox. Photo David Lowe.

‘They were really clear concise messages. These are definitely tools that will save lives.’

Mr Connellan emphasised the course was very practical. ‘Trent gets you up and moving, and gets you in groups,’ he said.

‘There’s activities involved. You’re not just sitting there and staring at a screen all day. It’s an interactive, practical course that really defines things very clearly.

‘It definitely challenges a few misconceptions. By educating yourself with the proper information everything becomes a lot clearer; what people are going through, and how to help.’

People can find more information and book into one of the mental health first courses at the Linktree on The Healthy Minds Club Instagram site.

Everyone is welcome.

Other news from The Healthy Minds Club

The Healthy Minds Club surf competition. Photo Aviary Media.

In January the group organised a surf tag team event, open to the general public, and they have another one coming up in April.

‘It’s open to all. We’re trying to encourage as many people as possible from the surfing community all over the Northern Rivers to get together and have a good time,’ said Mr Connellan.

‘Tag team events are a bit different to your traditional individual event,’ he explained.

‘You have a team of five surfers, and you all compete against other teams. You surf in heats like you would in a normal competition, but the heats are a lot longer in duration, and each surfer only gets two waves to score on in a heat, and all five surfers have to compete.

‘So there’s a few different rules, but it makes it a lot more competitive, and it’s a really nice concept to have, as a tag team. You’re surfing for a team and not just for an individual purpose,’ said Mr Connellan.

The next tag team event will be happening in Lennox or Ballina, depending on conditions, with the final call going out via social media at 6am on 16 April.

Jackson Connellan said, ‘If people want to sign up for the event via our Instagram page, you can find the link to sign up and enter the competition on our Linktree.’

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