According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in five Australians aged 16 to 85 live with some form of mental health issue. Journey looks at five ways you can raise awareness and dialogue around mental health issues in October to coincide with Queensland Mental Health Week (9–15 October).
Organise an art exhibition
Scott Guyatt recently wrote in The Scoop about the potential benefits to community and God if every church embraces the full diversity of the arts. Why not organise a mental health-themed art exhibition at your church or a partnering gallery and invite local artists to contribute their work?
Get soxy to raise funds
On 7 October Odd Socks Day encourages people to put on a pair of odd socks and get together for a fundraising sports match or trivia night to raise money for Grow, Australia’s leading mutual help program for people with mental illness.
Put on your best walking shoes and see Brisbane
The annual Walk for Awareness on 9 October encourages people (and pets!) of all ages and fitness levels to get sponsorship for an eight kilometre walk around Brisbane’s winding river, including a stroll across the iconic Story Bridge. Donations contribute to charities working on the front line tackling mental health issues.
Let’s talk when the going gets tough!
Ask “RUOkay?” That’s an important question for every day of the year. Too many people, particularly men, “tough it out”, keep their feelings to themselves and struggle in silence. Open dialogue helps break the stigma of mental illness in the community. Use the 365 Day resources from RUOK.
Have a movie night
There are plenty of thought-provoking films which explore mental health issues—say Rain Man, Silver Linings Play Book or Jack of the Red Hearts (reviewed this month on The Scoop)—so why not gather friends and family, get the popcorn cooking and then have a post-screening discussion on the issues raised.
Given the 31st Synod’s resolution about the annual Mental Health Day of Prayer for recovery and understanding, congregations are urged to participate in this important activity on 11 October. Prayer resources for congregations are available on the Synod website.
For more information on Queensland Mental Health Week visit their website.