Wandoan Health Auxiliary to host mental health awareness evening

WHEN it comes to mental health, David Westgate knows from firsthand experience that neglecting his own mental health only hurts himself and his loved ones.

That’s why David is on a mission to empower others so they can avoid making the same mistakes that he did. He has spent the last decade speaking on mental health and delivering “mental health first aid” seminars to strip away the smoke and mirrors that often surrounds mental health.

Senex Energy is proud to bring David to Wandoan for Wandoan Health Auxiliary’s Mateship In The Bush mental health evening on September 19.

David will present alongside Are You Bogged Mate? founder and CEO Mary O’Brien at the event, which aims to raise awareness and break down the stigma often associated with mental health.

Event organiser Wandoan Health Auxiliary President Karen Postle said the event was open to anyone, near and far.

“It’s so important we know how to identify the warning signs and know how to get help for ourselves or those close to us,” she said.

“The Auxiliary hosts one of these sessions every few years and it was clear that mental health was front and centre in our community.

“With another drought potentially around the corner, we want to equip people with tools to prepare for events which could affect their mental health.

“There’ll be a sausage sizzle dinner followed by David and Mary’s talks and an online presentation by a person with a lived experience of suicide.”

David says while many fear bringing up mental health with someone, the power of a simple conversation should not be underestimated.

“When I do a talk, I am trying to teach people how to reach out to others without diagnosing them, it may not even be about mental health, it could be a relationship breakdown or money problems.

“It’s not about fixing people, you’re not a trained expert. But it’s about reaching out and encouraging them to seek appropriate professional health whether that’s a GP, a psychologist or a financial counsellor,” he explains.

Senex Energy Community Relations Manager Trevor Robertson said Senex was proud to be bringing David to Wandoan after benefiting first-hand from his work with Senex employees.

“With two in five Australians aged 16-85 years experiencing a mental disorder at some time in their life, it’s clear that in one way or another it touches us all,” Trevor said.

“It may not be as obvious as a broken bone, but it’s just as real. Being skilled in mental health first aid is just as important as knowing CPR.

“Senex is delighted to support the Wandoan Health Auxiliary host this event by bringing David to share his experiences and strategies.

“I’m confident that the Wandoan community will get as much from David’s wisdom and strategies as our team have been able to over the years”.