Services providers in the Esperance region have teamed up for a week of mental health promotion.
Mental Health Week runs from Sunday, October 7 to Sunday, October 14, with this year’s theme ‘Mental health starts where we live, learn, work and play’.
To celebrate the week and boost awareness of mental health issues, service providers have coordinated a week of activities.
Harmonee House, Escare, Centrecare, BOICO, Hope Community Services, LifeSPAN, Life Without Barriers, the Esperance Museum and the Shire of Esperance are all involved in organising and supporting events throughout the week.
The week began with yoga and musical sessions with upcoming events including the Turn Blue for a Day march, a week-long mental health display at the Esperance Library, morning teas, youth mental health first aid courses, a Pop Up Café outside the Museum Village and movies.
Esperance Care Services service manager Sue Meyer said the week was critical to highlight positive mental health.
“There a lot of people that suffer in the area of mental health; be it depression, anxiety or mental illness,” she said.
“It makes the community aware, where once mental health was a taboo subject now people can talk about it and it's great people don't have to suffer in silence.”
Mrs Meyer said Esperance Care Services provided emergency relief and responded to crisis situations.
“We see a lot of people who are finding it really difficult because they need help with food or clothing and that can leave them feeling depressed.
“One of the most important things with mental illness is to have hope and that’s what we are about.”
Mrs Meyer encouraged members of the community to get involved in the week and see what was going on.
Bay of Isles Community Outreach (BOICO) service delivery coordinator Lisa Andre said the week helped connect people within the community.
“It’s about interconnecting everybody and using what we have available,” she said.
“People isolate when they’re unwell and sometimes it’s hard when they feel stigma.
“Mental Health Week is about breaking that down so that people can still be involved in everything.
“They can go downtown and tell people, ‘I do have a mental illness but I’m here, this is my town, this is my community and I’m proud to be part of this community’.”
Escare family and community worker Meg Sims said the week promoted education and awareness to prevent problems reaching a crisis point.
“Rather than waiting till you've actually got a mental health issue, it’s about that self care,” she said.
“Because Esperance is quite isolated, we are limited in our services, what services we do have work together to help our clients and other community members to be aware of positive mental health.
“That’s a goal for all of us as service providers; getting the community connected together.”
Mrs Sims said it was essential that services collaborated in order to address a client in a holistic manner.
For more information on local Mental Health Week events click here.