THE SOUTH East Junction is preparing to roll out its 2020 calendar to continue its positive effect on the mental health of Limestone Coast residents.
Primarily based in Mount Gambier’s Ferrers Street with regular sessions in neighbouring towns, the not-for-profit organisation has built its reputation as a support service, offering a range of activities, opportunities and resources to address the region’s mental wellbeing.
Its footprint continues to expand since its establishment over a decade ago in 2009, building its community profile through events such as Mental Health Week, the Flying High kite display and kindness mediation sessions.
With a number of mental health first aid courses scheduled for the coming weeks, The Junction coordinator Nel Jans said it was important the service was able to reach rural farming communities.
“Country residents see, hear and come across a lot of things they do not necessarily get to talk about,” Ms Jans said.
“It then can bring lot of issues which can cause stress and sometimes can bring mental health issues.
“If there is no opportunity to talk, this can then lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol and verbal aggression.”
Ms Jans said men in particular were prone to not speak about their mental health.
“They think they have to be strong and are not allowed to 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.”
Ms Jans said the mental first aid courses had proven popular, with Mount Gambier’s planned March session already booked to capacity.
“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.
“We are all about preventing and it is better to talk about something before it becomes an illness.”
Ms Jans said she had received positive feedback from participants they were able to use the information which they had learnt.
“Even after their first session I have been told they have been able to pull information they had learnt straight away at work and in a family situation,” she said.
“That builds confidence and then people feel more confident in engaging with conversation about mental health issues.
“It also allows people to feel more confident in speaking about something they are worried about.”
The full 12-hour course will be delivered across three-hour blocks on March 3, 10, 24 and 31 from 5.30pm.
Contact Nel Jans at The Junction to be added to the waiting list.