Mental Health Breakfast 2022: A chance to reflect and connect

Over 60 people from all walks of life gathered at the Victor Peters Suite, Newcastle West this morning to celebrate Mental Health Month.

Hosted by the Diocesan Social Justice Council, the Mental Health Breakfast’s aim was to advocate for and raise awareness of mental health in our community.

Guest speakers from the State Emergency Services (SES) and The Rosewood Centre reflected on the theme Building Resilience: Communities and Connections by sharing their experiences working with people while they were going through difficult times.

Cluster Commander for the Hunter SES, Graeme Silver was thrilled to speak at the event.

He shared stories from the frontline in his SES role and from when he worked with NSW Ambulance.

“I am a retired paramedic, so I have had experience with mental health patients and also mental ill-health within the ambulance service and my colleagues,” he said.

“My piece of advice is to seek help as soon as you can.”

He also encouraged people to connect with others and check in on their mates.

After volunteering with the SES for more than four decades, he says it’s the connections he’s made, the camaraderie and the opportunity to help the community that makes him so passionate about his role.

Manager Community and Mission, Brendon Mannyx said it was incredible to hear all the different tales.

“Each of the speakers this morning shared their stories of significant impact to our communities in recent years,” he said.

“In each of their journeys, what came through was the need for human connection – communities are formed by looking out for one another and being there in times of difficulty.

“I loved what Robyn (an SES Chaplain) said: ‘we invite people to stop and talk; to slow down and have something to eat’ – it really set the tone for our breakfast.”

He adds the Diocesan Social Justice Council hosted the event to bring people together.

“The Council has always recognised our need to journey with our local communities, sharing in the joys and struggles of everyday life,” he said.

“What was really great about today is that we partnered with other groups in our community – The Rosewood Centre and SES – to find ways in which we can support each other and do this together.”

Project Coordinator Pastoral Ministries, Alyson Segrott hopes the breakfast helped attendees realise they need to look after their mental health.

“I hope that people take away that message, it is important to take time for our mental health, it is important to share what is going on and to listen to each other,” she said.  

“Take time to stop, be present and really listen to those around you. And if you don’t have someone to talk to, there are 24/7 support services available to help.”

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