A roadshow aimed at opening up the conversation around mind health and reducing the negative stigma of mental illness is coming to Port Augusta. On February 20 at the Central Oval, Anthony Hart and Joe Williams will be telling their own stories of overcoming private mental health battles, but will also explain how people can look out for their mates when times may be tough.
The federal government sponsored program is travelling throughout regional South Australia and responds to statistics that show in regional areas, suicide rates are 200 per cent higher, than those in the city.
One of the speakers of the roadshow Anthony Hart says that the stigma of mental health is worse in the country and the aim of their talks is to help the current situation and provide some effective ways of recovering. He explains that through his own recovery from when he attempted to take his life in 2003 that he has set up something called a life back tracker which provides him and others with four steps to follow.
“I was not allowed to drink alcohol because I had a brain injury, exercise- I found that myself so I exercise every day for 40 minutes, the third thing that I had to get was eight and half hours sleep. The sleep is a major ingredient that we need and the fourth thing which is the most important is the talking. I advocate for people to keep it private, but confide in one of your close mates and then go to the GP,” Mr Hart said.
Over the course of the night both Anthony and Joe will explain how over their journeys they have learnt to cope with ill health. But one thing that Anthony stresses is that many disregard their mind health as if it is not a real issue.
“People need to get sorted like any other health condition a broken leg, skin cancer or something wrong with your liver, you would go and get it fixed up. But if it has got to do with your mind, this is my big passion and drive. We have got to change this space and think of it as a mind health condition, just as a physical one and take appropriate action,” Mr Hart explained.
The two month long mental health campaign is targeting men, as seven out of 10 suicides are men, yet they want people to understand it is also for women and helping them understand how they can support men. “Females tend to be able to do the talking a lot better. We are targeting this as a men roadshow but importantly we want men and women to come to this.
The talks expose a raw and emotional time that each man went through and Anthony explains that the power of coming to the talks is that there is no psychologist and no pressure. “It is just three men telling their stories, then finishing and opening up to the floor asking as many questions as they would like. We will not leave until we have spoken to every person, it is that type of challenge that we are facing.”
The road show will be going around twice to encourage people to return and continue talking about mental health.
- 18 February Maitland, Central Yorke Football Club, Cnr Robert St & Rogers Tce, Maitland, 6pm Free BBQ for 6:30pm start
- 19 February Port Pirie, Port Pirie Sports Precinct Function Centre, Memorial Oval, 50 Mary Elie Street, Port Pirie, 6pm Free BBQ for 6:30pm start
- 20 February Port Augusta, Central Oval Sporting & Community Hub, 10 Augusta Terrace, Port Augusta, 6pm Free BBQ for 6:30pm start
- 21 February Whyalla, Westland Hotel Motel Conference Centre, 100 McDouall Stuart Avenue, Whyalla Norrie, 6pm Free BBQ for 6:30pm start
- 22 February Port Lincoln, Mallee Park Football Club, 30 Ravendale Road, Port Lincoln, 5:30pm Free BBQ for 6:30pm start
- 18 March Copper Coast, Kennett's of Kadina Hardware store, 11 Digby St Kadina, 7.30am free breakfast, 8am start
- 19 March Port Pirie, Mid State Home Timber, 89 Esmond Rd Port Pirie, 7am free breakfast, 7:30am start
- 20 March Port Augusta, Better Homes Mitre 10, 8-22 Woodcock St Port Augusta, 8am free breakfast, 8.30am start
- Pt Augusta Yacht Club, 2:30pm for 3:00pm start
- 21 March Whyalla, Whyalla Mitre 10 Trade, Lot 5, Keith St Whyalla Playford, 7am Free breakfast, 7:30am start
- 22 March Port Lincoln, Port Lincoln Mitre 10 Trade, 21 Bel Air Drive Port Lincoln, 7am Free breakfast, 7:30am start