Wednesday is World Mental Health Day, and two organisations are holding events in Tamworth to shine a light on an issue that is at crisis point in regional Australia.
While Billabong Clubhouse will be holding their annual Mental Health Fun Day, on Thursday Insurance and Care NSW (icare) are hosting a Mental Health Forum for employers at the Powerhouse from 8.30am.
In the 2016-17 financial year mental health workers compensation claims cost $2.2 million, the third highest claim cost in regional NSW, with the health and community services sector accounting for almost 44 per cent of that.
icare Regional Relationship Manager Elizabeth Ritchie said “the purpose of the event was to provide tools to help people identify, at an early stage, individuals within their workplaces and local community who are experiencing mental health challenges.”
“What should be concerning for local employers is that workers experiencing a mental health claim are off work for an average of 129 days. This is 186 per cent longer than the average timeframe.”
A series of speaker sessions at the seminar will equip employers with strategies to not only recognise, manage and support the mental health of their employees, but also build resilience within the workplace.
Armidale local and former NRL star Dean Widders will be a guest speaker on the day.
“Dean will be sharing some interesting stories from his journey, his personal challenges with mental health and resilience, and the positive impact of his social connections during challenging periods of his career,” Ms Ritchie said.
Meanwhile on Wednesday Billabong Clubhouse have invited the public to a Fun Day which will see “all local services providers come together to create a positive experience for all” by showcasing what they have to offer.
The Clubhouse’s Kevin Rooney said “mental health is everyone’s business, so we want everyone to get involved.”
The Fun Day runs from 10am until 2pm and will include a variety of stalls, as well as fun and games, live entertainment, tea and coffee and a bbq lunch.