Join the conversation at Art of the Minds
According to Beyond Blue, three million Australians are living with anxiety or depression, yet conversations about our population’s mental health often dodge the dinner table.
Torquay charity Art of the Minds has been working towards changing this attitude through its month-long festival, which is slated for next month.
Scheduled to coincide with World Mental Health Day, the 31-day program will provide the Surf Coast community and visitors alike with opportunities to learn about mental health, while breaking down barriers for people who may be reluctant to seek help.
Art of the Minds president Jules Haddock said this year’s festival will feature art exhibitions, dinners and dances, wellness retreats, education events and golf tournaments to appeal to as many community members as possible.
“There is only one way to break the stigma of mental illness and that is to talk about it,” she said.
“That’s why there will be something for everyone on the program.”
Guest speakers will also appear at selected events in a move to share experiences.
Jillian McIver, whose much-loved brother Peter “Drafty” McIver took his life last year, has agreed to speak at Torquay’s Peppers the Sands Resort on October 12.
She said the McIvers had experienced a great deal of grief, having lost many family members in recent years.
“Each event has a life changing effect on those related, whether it be family, friends, work colleagues or strangers that you have never met,” she said.
“Unfortunately for those left behind it can be devastating to the point of hopelessness or it can enhance us to become stronger and better people.”
Jillian said she hoped to inspire others to initiate important conversations about people’s wellbeing.
“My hope is that from his death we can ask you all to keep talking about him as he was part of our lives, and that we can also talk about the way Peter died,” she said.
“(Peter) tried his very best but in the end, he ran out of strength. We all miss him and have tried to get on with life but will always have a story to tell, a memory to share and maybe a love that will keep us going. There is always hope.”
To join the conversation, attend next month’s Art of the Minds Festival.
Anyone who feels they might be struggling with their mental health is encouraged to phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or to make use of the resources at beyondblue.org.au.