Beating depression: awareness the key to saving a generation

ON BOARD: Orange Men's Shed representative Colin Kearl, Western NSW Medicare Local communications manager Anna Barnes, Orange Men's Shed representative Lester Davey and beyondblue office manager Maggie McBain at the beyondblue bus at Bunnings, Orange. Photo: NICK McGRATH 0819nmbus1

ON BOARD: Orange Men's Shed representative Colin Kearl, Western NSW Medicare Local communications manager Anna Barnes, Orange Men's Shed representative Lester Davey and beyondblue office manager Maggie McBain at the beyondblue bus at Bunnings, Orange. Photo: NICK McGRATH 0819nmbus1

BEYONDBLUE office manager Maggie McBain believes better awareness and a stronger message is slowly closing the door on generation “don’t say anything”. 

Part of a 30,000 kilometre national roadshow that arrived in Bathurst on Monday before landing at Orange Bunnings yesterday, the beyondblue big blue bus will also visit Manildra, Dubbo and Warren in a bid to help rural communities snap the stigma attached to mental health issues.

Mrs McBain said the purpose of the big blue bus’s trip was to bring the information to the community, rather than leave it up to the community to find it.

“We want to get to the smaller communities and take our product to them,” she said.

“The stigma, there’s a lot of stigma. Discrimination I guess. Generations have been told don’t say anything. It must be so uplifting to be able to share.”

Unfortunately, over half of all people who experience depression or anxiety don’t share. 

The bus will make a special stop in Manildra, where the community raised over $37,000 for beyondblue following the loss of several young people to suicide. 

Mrs McBain said while the recent death of high profile suffers of mental health problems, namely actor Robin Williams, had helped lift the profile of organisations such as beyondblue, there still wasn’t enough being done to promote mental health in Australia.

In 2012 alone, 2535 Australians took their lives.

Western NSW Medicare Local communications officer Anna Barnes said getting behind the big blue bus was a simple way to reiterate a simple message.

“Depression has many faces,” she said.

“And if you do notice anyone not being their normal self then it’s okay to point them in the right direction.”

With 71 members, Miss Barnes said the work of the Orange Men’s Shed in Lucknow was critical in enabling men to speak about their demons in the right environment.

“That’s exactly what we’re about,” Orange Men’s Shed member Don Hume said.

“Come out and see us one day.”

The Orange Men’s Shed is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 3pm.

nick.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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