STEPS to address the effects of mental health will be covered in a health workshop which returns to Millicent this week.
The South East Junction is encouraging individuals to help the mental health of the community and participate in a mental health first aid course starting tomorrow.
Organisation coordinator Nel Jans said the exclusive workshop was not just for professionals, but for everyday people.
“During the course, people are able to understand what it means to have a mental health issue or illness,” Ms Jans said.
“We talk about different illnesses, how somebody can recognise them and all kinds of personal questions people might have.
“The facilitator always leaves time so if there are questions, people can talk and discuss topics which may be beneficial for the whole group.”
Ms Jans said it was important for rural farming communities to be equipped with mental health knowledge.
“Residents see, hear and come across a lot of things they do not necessarily get to talk about,” she said.
“It then brings them a lot of issues which can cause stress and sometimes can bring mental health issues.”
Ms Jans said withholding feelings and concerns could lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol and verbal aggression.
“Especially men, they seem to think they have to be strong and they can not think they can have their own issues,” she said.
“The atmosphere over the past couple of years has changed and more people are talking about if they are going through something or if they are worried about their mental health.
“I think more people are taking into consideration mental health exists just like physical health or anything else and we are holistic beings.”
Courses have been held in the area for the past two years, with around 15 participants in each course.
“We have the biggest impact when people talk we then have a ripple effect on families and neighbours,” she said.
“We are all about preventing and it is better to talk about something before it becomes an illness.”
The 12-hour course – supported by Ski for Life and the Lioness Club – will run over a four-week period during three-hour blocks.
The first session will start tomorrow and will be held at the Millicent and District Hospital’s training room at 5.30pm.
Other sessions are scheduled for February 28, March 4 and March 11.
The cost of the course will be $30 and is required to be paid at registration.
Contact Nel Jans at The Junction for further information.