‘Mateship In The Bush’ evening equips Wandoan with essential mental health first aid skills

A crowd of both young and old turned out for the Senex supported ‘Mateship in the Bush’ Mental Health Awareness Evening in Wandoan, which was recently organised by the Wandoan Health Auxiliary.

The attendees heard from mental health advocate David Westgate, Founder of Are You Bogged Mate? Mary O’Brien and two Queensland Health nurses as well as a presentation from a Charters Tower’s resident sharing his lived experience of suicide.

Wandoan Health Auxiliary President Karen Postle was delighted with the widespread support the event received.

“I was pretty nervous about how people would respond as mental health is something that’s often swept under the carpet,” she said.

“To see so many people, especially men, wanting to learn more about the warning signs was so heartening.

“Learning the indicators, how to raise issues, as well as knowing how and where to ask for help are at the core of getting on top of mental health – all areas covered on the evening.

“I want to thank Senex and our other sponsors who helped to bring our speakers to Wandoan. Without their support the evening wouldn’t have been possible.

“We can’t predict future weather or market conditions, so it’s critical that as a community we come together and be prepared.

“If one of us needs help, we’ll know the warning signs and how to get them the support they need.

“Tonight was an excellent starting point for our community in equipping us for future inevitable challenges.”

Senex Energy Community Relations Manager Trevor Robertson said the event offered a diverse range of perspectives when it comes to mental health, which is important in a community made up of different people.

“With two in five Australians aged 16-85 years experiencing a mental health challenge during their lifetime, everyone is impacted directly or indirectly at some point,” he said.

“The approaches, tips and strategies offered by David, Mary, Graham and Fiona really expanded the mental health skillset of all who attended.

“David’s work with Senex employees over the years has offered unique insights for our team in recognising how to deal with their own, their colleagues’, friends’ and family’s ongoing struggles with mental health.

“Given David’s successful role with Senex in breaking down barriers on mental health we thought it essential we brought him to Wandoan.

“As always, different styles work for different people and it was, at times, both sobering and amusing to hear Mary speak about her work with farmers.

“Her no-nonsense, problem-solving approach that drew on agriculture analogies really resonated with a lot of the men in the room.

“Mental health first aid is just as important as knowing CPR and everyone who attended will have learnt something that they can use down the track.”