Tradies start day in positive headspace

More than 30 tradies accepted a free breakfast and heard invaluable mental health messages at the Banner Mitre10 store in Millicent on Thursday morning.

While grabbing an egg and bacon roll cooked by the Millicent Lions Club, the tradies were addressed in the timber yard by visiting speaker Jeremy Forbes.

Formerly a painter and decorator at Castlemaine in his home state of Victoria, Mr Forbes used his background in amateur theatre to good effect.

The Wattle Range Suicide Prevention Network arranged for Mr Forbes from HALT to be there and available for an informal chat.

HALT is an acronym for Hope Assistance Local Tradies and was founded by Mr Forbes in 2013.

It aims to build a bridge between existing support services for people at risk of suicide and the local community.

Mr Forbes was prompted to act almost a decade ago after the loss of a friend to suicide.

“We do not do enough about our mental health and it’s okay to talk,” Mr Forbes told The SE Voice.

“We were able to secure some government grants and now I work full-time with HALT.

“We want those who come to our sessions to be comfortable about seeking information and asking for resources.”

Retiree and Millicent Lions Club member Brendan Buchanan said the talk by Mr Forbes struck a chord.

“He got right down to tin tacks,” Mr Buchanan said.

Plumber and Millicent Football Club coach Clint Gallio said awareness of mental health was vital in sporting clubs.

“Most of the senior squad at Millicent are under 21 years of age and we encourage them to talk to me or the other members of the leadership group.”

The breakfast organisers were grateful to Banner Mitre10 Millicent, Millicent Lions Club and the Mount Gambier and District Suicide Prevention Network for helping the WRSPN with this initiative.

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