Fonterra hosted a free Mental Health Community Forum at the Cobden Football and Netball Club on Wednesday night this week for more than 60 people from Cobden and surrounding areas.
AFL legend and founder of PukaUp, Wayne Schwass, along with former rugby league player and Black Dog Institute Ambassador, Wayne Wigham spoke at the forum. They both shared their personal mental health journeys and provided tools to help people maintain their own mental health. With 20 per cent of Australians aged 16 to 85 years experiencing a mental illness in a year, the audience heard about the support services that are available to them.
Fonterra Cobden Site Manager, Nick Hayes, said it was fantastic to see so many people from the local community turn out to learn more about mental health.
“The session really highlighted the importance of making genuine conversations around mental health a part of everyday life. To have a strong and healthy community, we all need to feel safe to talk about mental health and have the knowledge to help those who are struggling, and I hope people walked away from the session with the tools to do this,” Nick said.
“Since 2020, Fonterra has been working with our employees, farmers and communities to destigmatise the topic of mental health. We believe this is an important contribution we can make to the communities in which we operate,” he said.
Corangamite Shire Councillor Jo Beard also attended the forum and spoke of the Rural Financial Counselling Service – a support service available for people in the local community.
“The Rural Financial Counselling Service is a confidential, independent, local and free financial wellbeing support program that is offered to farmers and small businesses in southwest Victoria,” Jo said.
“We know that support is often needed to navigate the challenges of operating through times of financial or personal uncertainty, stress or change, so it’s great that this service is available to our community.
“This was a great session, and I would like to thank Fonterra for the work it is doing to help destigmatise mental health and encourage conversations around the issue within its community,” Jo said.
If you are in southwest Victoria and you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out for support.
Need to talk to someone?
Don't go it alone. Please reach out for help.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au