Mount Gambier has hosted a successful tour from national grass-roots suicide prevention charity Hope Assistance Local Tradies (HALT), with more than 500 people attending a series of functions.
The charity hosts “Save Your Bacon” breakfasts and events for tradies and apprentices at workplaces, hardware stores, sporting clubs, Men’s Sheds and TAFEs across Australia to raise awareness of mental health and connect people with local and national support services.
StandBy Support After Suicide Coordinator and member of the Mount Gambier and District Suicide Prevention Group Tracey Wanganeen said the tour went very well and speaker Jeremy Forbes was positively received at all venues. “The week started early last Tuesday morning with Jeremy speaking at a “Save Your Bacon Brekkie” at the Grant District Council Works Depot,” she said.
“Jeremy then attended the G4S Prison speaking with both staff and prisoners. That evening he spoke at the South Gambier Football Club with both footballers and netballers attending. “Wednesday started with another brekkie at Banner Mitre 10 then back to the prison to speak with another three groups of prisoners and staff.
“Wednesday night the Mount Gambier community were invited to hear Jeremy at the Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre and there were about 40-plus people in attendance. “Thursday morning started at Bunnings with another tradie brekkie and a really good turn up. Then there was a lunch session with two groups of apprentices at Tafe and a final session at the Port Mac Footy Club that night.”
Ms Wanganeen said many workplaces that attended the tradie brekkies had requested that Jeremy return and speak specifically at their work sites which is a great outcome. “At all sessions Jeremy talked about the importance of supporting our mates an ourselves and watching out for signs of mental health issues – which we can all experience,” she said.
“His talks break down the stigma of talking about mental health and encourage help seeking and reaching out to those around us – friends and professionals – when we need support.”
Ms Wanganeen said Mr Forbes was intending to return to the region later in the year. “The Mount Gambier and Districts Suicide Prevention Network will be assisting his visit by linking him to many of the workplaces who expressed an interest in having Jeremy speak with them,” she said.
“Members of the network were present at each of Jeremy’s sessions to both support him and to promote the network to our community.”