A HUGE turnout is expected for the Positive Education forum at Scone High School next week.
Every councillor from the Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook shires, sports teams, teachers, farmers, miners, shopkeepers, doctors, labourers and horse stud owners will be among those coming together on Monday, November 28, to develop a plan on how the community can work together to reduce suicide and improve mental health.
There’s a bus travelling from Merriwa and interested groups from Newcastle and Narrabri are heading to Scone to see if they can take a similar approach to reducing mental illness in their communities.
“I think on Monday night we’ll see a community saying we don’t want to see people suffering anymore and we’re prepared to work together to stop it,” said Pauline Carrigan, founder of Where there’s a Will Foundation, which is hosting the function between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
“It is my hope that by taking a community-based approach to Positive Education, we’ll be able to reduce suicides and mental illness in the same way that the Slip Slop Slap campaign from the early 1980s was a hugely successful, community-led response to preventing skin cancer.
“Just in the same way that parents, teachers, sports coaches and grandparents tell our kids to check out dodgy moles or that they can’t leave the house without sunscreen or a hat, we want everyone in the Upper Hunter to know what they can do to help prevent mental illness in our children.”
Jim FitzGerald, principal of St Marys School in Scone, says the district is lucky to have Where there’s a Will working so hard to improve the wellbeing of all children.
“There’s no doubt that we’ve got many people in our community needing help,” he said.
“And, I think that there’s a strong sense of gratitude that we’ve got an organisation like Where there’s a Will putting their hand up to say ‘let’s tackle this together as a community’ and then coming up with a plan on how to prevent some of these problems arising in the first place.
“Improving wellbeing isn’t something that parents can do on their own or that schools can do on their own, we really need everyone to head along to the forum to understand how we can all work together.”
Further information on the forum can be found on the Where there’ a Will Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/uhwheretheresawill/