Celebrating Mental Health Month 2020

7 October 2020

October is Mental Health Month; a great time to pause and 'tune in' with yourself and others to see how you and your loved ones are feeling.

2020 has been an especially difficult year, and many of us have felt more anxious, stressed and uncertain about the future than usual. Taking a moment to tune in can help still and focus your mind. It can help you find a fresh perspective, reflect and be present. 

For more information about tuning in and your mental health, check out Way Ahead’s Mental Health Month website and downloadable resources, including a helpful fact sheet.


Free virtual events

* World Mental Health Day: Saturday 10 October is World Mental Health Day and the National Mental Health Commission has partnered with Mental Health Australia on their ‘Look After Your Mental Health Australia’ initiative. The campaign encourages all Australians to make a promise to themselves, to ensure they are supporting their mental health and wellbeing. Find out how you can make your own promise here.

* Cuppa & a Chat virtual sessions: BEING - Mental Health Consumers will be hosting a series of 'Cuppa & a Chat' themed sessions online. This is a chance to chat about topics which may affect those living with mental health issues, such as loneliness, hope, connections and what Mental Health Month means to you.

  • What does Mental Health Month mean to you? at 10am on Friday 9 October. Register now!
  • Conversation starter: Hope at 10am, Friday 16 October. Register now!
  • Conversation starter: Loneliness at 10am, Friday 23 October. Register now!
  • Conversation starter: Connections at 10am, Friday 30 October. Register now!

* National Carers Week: Sunday 11 to Sunday 17 October is National Carers Week. It's a time to recognise the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend, including those with lived experience of mental illness. Find out more about National Carers Week and how to get involved at carersweek.com.au.

* Eating disorders and body image podcast: Sam Ikin talks to Beth Shelton, Director of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC), Christine Naismith from Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA) and Amelia Trinick from the Butterfly National Helpline who share their understanding of eating disorders as a mental health issue. Rupert and Astrid talk candidly about their lived experience. Listen now!

* Lifeline South Coast online QPR trainingLifeline South Coast is providing a free QPR training session for the South Coast community via Zoom on the 31st of October 9am - 11:30pm. QPR training will provide you with knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal; confidence to talk to them about suicidal thoughts; connect them with professional care. Find out more and register here.


Illawarra Shoalhaven events

* Mad Poetry workshops: Brought to you by Red Room Poetry and the NSW Mental Health Commission, the 'Mad Poetry' workshops will help community members respond both to the COVID-19 impact in NSW on wellbeing, and heightened issues of isolation and social dislocation. This four-part series of free online poetry workshops will be delivered throughout October by facilitators skilled in both the writing and lived experience space. There is also a workshop happening in Wollongong. Find out more and register your interest here.

* October Chats for Change: Chats for Change are compassionate conversations organised by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and consist of different health professionals as well as people with lived experience. They are aiming at providing an empathetic ear for those experiencing distress and difficulties following recent suicides within our community. The chats are being held in Kiama, Gerringong and Jamberoo throughout October. Find out more on the ISLHD Facebook page.

* Lifeline South Coast Free Wellbeing Workshops: This free practical workshop will explore how to look after yourself and others during struggle or tough times. The workshops will be held in Kiama, Gerringong and Jamberoo throughout October. Find out more on the ISLHD Facebook page.

* Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network (SSPAN) Memorial Service: SSPAN is inviting the community to a memorial service to remember those we have lost to suicide or unexpected death and to show our support to one another. 6pm on Sunday 11 October at Moona Moona Creek Reserve, Huskisson.

* Lifeline Psychological First Aid (PFA) workshop – West Nowra: Mind the Gap at UOW West Nowra are hosting a face to face Psychological First Aid (PFA) workshop on the 29 of October 9:30am - 12:30pm. The workshop is a 3-hour program and aims to provide basic skills for helping people affected by a disaster. Explore more and register here

* Lifeline QPR training – West Nowra: Mind the Gap at UOW West Nowra are hosting a free face to face QPR training session on the 29 of October 2:20pm - 5pm. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Explore more and register here.

For more events in the Illawarra Shoalhaven, please see this Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative activities sheet.


Southern NSW events

* Postcards from the Fire: An art exhibition in Mogo. Click here for details!

Last Summer: Drought, Fire, Flood and Recovery: An art exhibition in Araluen. Click here for details!

Mental health care packages - Eden: an initiative of St Georges Eden Uniting Church and the Garden of Eden Community Project, the Care packages are made by volunteers in the community and contain personal care items, a hand-made toiletry bag and a personal hand-made card containing a message of hope. They are then donated to SERH Mental Health Inpatient Unit. For more info contact Pat Coates (Parish Secretary)  platypuspatc@gmail.com


Community, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Mental health, Southern NSW, Suicide prevention