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    Justin Knorpp.

Starting conversations on mental health

By Abby Walter

Breathe, talk and be kind is the message behind a mental health awareness and education evening in Natimuk on December 1.

The free event aims to help break the stigma regarding mental health and well-being in rural areas, while building awareness of where and how to get help and tools to assist others.

Event organiser Travis Maybery said the event included a meal and three guest speakers, at no cost.

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“As a rural community we don’t always have the support systems in place, or think we have the time to reach out for help,” he said.

“This event is an opportunity to hear from leading professionals and help us navigate our health systems.”

Guest speaker Justin Knorpp said he would speak of his journey with mental ill-health and wanted to encourage people to speak up when they needed support.

“We’re always trying to start this conversation and let people know there is no shame, and it is not weak to reach out and ask for help,” he said.

“My mission is to continue to normalise speaking about mental health and break down the barriers and stigma that surrounds talking about it.

“Overall, we want to reduce suicide and mental ill-health in the community.”

Mr Knorpp said he also wanted to make people aware of the resources available to support them.

“Opening up and talking about my journey, and having friends do the same, has potentially saved our lives and if you do speak up it may motivate someone you know to reach out, too,” he said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics identified 3249 people died by suicide last year – making it the 15th leading cause of death nationally.

The bureau also identified 42.9 percent of Australians aged 16 to 85 years old had experienced a mental disorder, including anxiety and substance abuse, at some time in their life.

‘Breathe, Talk and Be Kind’ has been funded through community donations and any money raised on the night will be donated to Wimmera mental health services.

The event will begin at 6.30pm at the Natimuk Showgrounds.

More information is available on the event Facebook page titled, Breathe, Talk and Be Kind Evening.

• If you, or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, 13YARN on 13 92 76, MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. In an emergency, phone 000.

The entire November 15, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!