Course boosts mental health helpers

THERE has been a enthusiastic response to a Rotary initiative to train people to help others dealing with mental health issues.

The service organisation has held more than 550 community mental health forums across Australia and last month its first mental health first-aid workshop was conducted in Coffs Harbour.

Coffs City Rotary community service director Peter Wardman said the forum was about helping to raise awareness and providing the necessary skills to assist in the better management of mental health problems.

“The training provides individuals the opportunity to learn how to recognise and assist a person who may be developing a mental health problem,” Mr Wardman said.

“The community also benefits from an increased awareness of mental health issues that help to reduce stigma and bring these issues into the light.”

With a capacity gathering of 20, the attendees said the course was a valuable use of personal time and it provided useful information and skills to more effectively help others who have a mental illness.

The forum was so successful another is already being planned.

Coffs City Rotary Club’s Margaret White is now taking details from people wishing to attend the course.

“It is really heartening to see first-hand how popular and valuable the course is to our community,” Ms White said.

“Already we have 25 people waiting to do a mental health first-aid workshop and the dates of the next one will be announced soon.”

According to Rotary, in any one day 330 people with serious mental illness will be turned away from hospital emergency departments, 1200 people will be refused admission to a psychiatric unit and seven Australians will die as a result of suicide which is now the leading cause of death and disability for Australians under the age of 45.

To contact Ms White, call 6650 5908 or email: margaret.white-@dkm.com.au

It is really heartening to see first-hand how popular and valuable the course is to our community



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