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Archive 2015

January

Recovery Program Wagga Wagga

 Are you ready for recovery?

What is the recovery program?

The recovery program is an 8 week residential course of education, practical living skills, care coordination and support.

Who is the program for?

If you:
Have a mental Illness
Are 16 years or older
Want to improve your quality of life
Have some goals
Are willing to participate in group and one on one activities
Then this is an opportunity is for you!!

recovery program | PDF 695kb

March

HALT – Hope Assistance Local Tradies

 IT’S time to shine a light on mental health issues facing tradies.

On March 10, HALT will host a breakfast event at Bolton Park to bring the spotlight upon these issues facing tradies.This event will take place at Bolton Park, Wagga Wagga from 10am – 11.15am. To find out more about HALT see their website click here or follow HALT on Facebook.

To find out more please contact Ben MacKenzie or Jeremy Forbes on 0419 756 274

April

Finding a mental health friendly doctor

Mental illnesses and psychological distress are difficult things to talk about. It is important for sufferers to find a general practictioner (GP) who is knowledgeable, skilled and helpful and with whom they feel comfortable to share private details about their health. Here are some clues to help people find the right GP.

 

 

What this fact sheet covers:

• Introduction

• Doctor’s interest in mental health

• Mental health training

• Where to look for a doctor who might suit you

• What you can expect of a GP who is helping you with your mental health

• Characteristics of a good mental health assessment

See below attachment for more information

Depression in adolescents & young people

What this fact sheet covers:

• Signs of depression in adolescence

• Where to get help for an adolescent

• Key points to remember

• Where to get more information

DepressioninAdolescentsandYoungPeople_0 | PDF 106kb

 

Treatments for Depression

What this fact sheet covers:

• Types of treatments for depression

• Physical treatments

• Psychological treatments

• Self-help and alternative therapies

• Key points to remember

• Where to get more information

Heartbreak and hope

It wasn’t until our boy died that the [suicide] statistics [became] prevalent for us. When you’re talking 200 attempts a day that are reported, they’re huge numbers, and they’re just the people we hear about.

RASTimes March 2015 | Volume 13 #1

The statistics are grim: suicide is the number one cause of death of Australians aged 15–24, and it’s worse in non-urban areas. According to figures quoted by News Corp, the suicide rate of youths in country areas is almost double that of their city counterparts; but are youth suicide rates in regional and rural areas preventable?

(In 2010, according to figures published on news.com.au in August last year, 5.9 per 100,000 15–19 year-olds died by suicide in capital cities compared to 10.3 per 100,000 outside capitals. Analysing 20–24 year-olds in the same year, the suicide rate was 9.0 per 100,000 in capital cities
compared to 16.5 for young people in regional and rural areas).

For Jannelle Brandley, who works in a non-clinical role for a mental health support service in Armidale, the numbers did not resonate until her seventeen-year-old son, Jarrod, took his life in May 2014. “It wasn’t until our boy died that the statistics [became] prevalent for us. When you’re talking 200 attempts a day that are reported, they’re huge numbers, and they’re just the people we hear about.”

It’s hard to pinpoint a solid reason why suicide rates are higher in country areas. Trevor Hazell, an executive manager for the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, believes the actual incidence of mental health issues is probably no different outside cities. “But the one big difference between you having a mental health problem in a rural and remote area compared to an urban area is the services that are available to you.”

Depression explained

Depression is a common experience. We have all felt ‘depressed’ about a friend’s cold shoulder, misunderstandings in our marriage, tussles with teenage children – sometimes we feel ‘down’ for no reason at all.

However, depression can become an illness when:

  • The mood state is severe
  • It lasts for 2 weeks or more, and
  • It interferes with our ability to function at home or at work.

Signs of a depression include:

  • Lowered self-esteem (or self-worth)
  • Change in sleep patterns, that is, insomnia or broken sleep
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Less ability to control emotions such as pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety
  • Varying emotions throughout the day, for example, feeling worse in the morning and better as the day progresses
  • Reduced capacity to experience pleasure: you can’t enjoy what’s happening now, nor look forward to anything with pleasure. Hobbies and interests drop off
  • Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches and pains and may have a host of new ailments
  • Changed sex drive: absent or reduced
  • Poor concentration and memory: some people are so impaired that they think that they are becoming demented
  • Reduced motivation: it doesn’t seem worth the effort to do anything, things seem meaningless
  • Lowered energy levels.

If you have such feelings and they persist for most of the day for more days than not over a two week period, and they interfere with your ability to manage at home and at work, then you might benefit from getting an assessment by a skilled professional.

Having one or other of these features, by themselves, is unlikely to indicate depression, however there could be other causes which may warrant medical assessment.

If you are feeling suicidal it is very important to seek immediate help, preferably by a mental health practitioner.

See the Black Dog Institute:

» Getting Help

» Emergency help

How to tell if you or someone else has depression

Please note that the information in this section (or anywhere on this site) is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, so please see a qualified health provider if you have any health concerns. Read our full terms and conditions. (Source – Black Dog Institute)

If you are feeling suicidal it is very important to seek immediate help, preferably by a mental health practitioner.

How to tell if you or someone else has depression

Reference/s:

http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/depression/depressionexplaine…

Heartbreak and Hope

 A country mum speaks out on improving access to mental health services in rural Australia.

RASTimes March 2015 | Volume 13 #1

It wasn’t until our boy died that the [suicide] statistics [became] prevalent for us. When you’re talking 200 attempts a day that are reported, they’re huge numbers, and they’re just the people we hear about.

Battle on the Bidgee Stockman’s Challenge

 Date: Friday, 9 October 2015 – 9:00am to Sunday, 11 October 2015 – 5:00pm

You are invited to be part of the inaugral Battle on the Bidgee Stockman’s Challenge.

The challenge will include preliminary events; Stock Handling, Packhorse, Whip Crack, Bareback Obstacle, Horseshoeing, Dry Working Pattern and Cross Country. The top 10 open competitors will then compete in a brumby catch and poley buckjump. The top 3 women competitors will also compete in a brumby catch and time trial event, while the top 5 juniors will battle it out in a time trial and steer ride.

And much more:

  • a quick shear competition
  • entertainment from The Double Dan Horsemanship and local band
  • rough rider events with the best local cowboys and cowgirls testing their skills against some of the toughest stock in the country
  • an invitational barrel race
  • a camp over cook off where the title of ‘My Camp Over Rules’ will be up for grabs
  • an open campdraft, showcasing some of the areas top campdrafters
  • kid’s gymkhana on Saturday

This event is a great opportunity for Riverina Bluebell to fund raise to support mental health.

Ardlethan Colour

Date: Sunday, 7 June 2015 – 10:00am

  June 7th – Ardlethan Colour fun run 5km from tin mine to football oval. 

 

World Mental Health Day

Date: Saturday, 10 October 2015 – 9:00am

World Mental Health Day

Raising Money for Mental Health.

May

toughTough and Up – forum for Secondary students

Date: Thursday, 15 October 2015 – 11:30am to 1:00pm

What is resilience? How do we build it?

    Guest speaker – Matthew Johnstone 

A forum for Secondary School students

Date: 15 October 2015

Time: 11.30 – 1pm

Venue: RSL Club, Wagga Wagga

Resilience is only really forged when we deal with issues that challenge us, mentally emotionally and physically. These can be both good and bad events in life.

What can be learnt from these experiences? How do we do we turn a negative into something positive and meaningful and grow from it? How can we develop skills to help us to maintain resilience, an inner toughness and a better sense of wellbeing?

This amusing, poignant and creative presentation will be delivered by Matthew Johnstone, author and illustrator of the books given to secondary schools in 2015 by Riverina Bluebell.

Riverina League – Leeton

Date: Saturday, 22 August 2015 (All day)

Aug 22nd – Riverina League – Leeton

                 AFL & Netball

Riverina Bluebell Cup – Ardlethan

Date: Saturday, 20 June 2015 (All day)

June 20th – Riverina Bluebell Cup – Ardlethan

        Farrah League AFL & Netball

Rotary Mental Health Forum

Date: Tuesday, 26 May 2015 – 6:30pm to 8:30pm

May 26th – Rotary Mental Health Forum

                Cootamundra Town Hall. 6.30 pm

July

TOUGH and UP – how to build resilience.

What is resilience? How do we build it? 

Resilience is only really forged when we come through things that challenge us, mentally, emotionally and physically. These can be both good and bad events in life.  

What can be learnt from these experiences?

How do we do we turn a negative event into something positive and meaningful and grow from it. How can we imbue our lives with techniques that help maintain resilience, an inner toughness and a better sense of wellbeing?

This amusing, poignant and creative talk delivered by Matthew Johnstone will inspire many a healthy conversation. Matthew weaves his own journey through this visual odyssey.  

Bongongo, Adjunbilly. Annual Cricket Match

 Date: Saturday, 17 October 2015 (All day)

17th October – Bongongo,  Adjunbilly.  Annual Cricket Match

Charity match organised by the Graham family.  The proceeds have supported RB since 2009. 

Gundagai: Battle on the Bidgee Stockman’s Challenge

Date: Saturday, 10 October 2015 – 9:00am to Sunday, 11 October 2015 – 5:00pm

10th & 11th October – Gundagai:  Battle on the Bidgee Stockman’s Challenge

RB nominated charity for 2015.  Check their website for more info.

Matong Public School – RUOK Day

Date: Wednesday, 9 September 2015 (All day)

9th September – Matong:  Matong Public School – RUOK Day

Read the Play – Junior AFL

Date: Saturday, 1 August 2015 (All day)

Read the Play – Junior AFL .  Program sponsored by RB, as detailed on website.  Contact Merilyn Limbrick for more information as she delivers the program to junior AFL clubs in the region.

How can I tell is someone is developing a mental illness ?

Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder generally have early warning signs that signal a person may be developing a mental health problem. Early intervention can help reduce the severity of an illness, or even delay or prevent a major mental illness altogether. It’s important to understand the early warning signs to assist sufferers to get medical assistance before an illness appears in its full-blown form.

What are the signs and symptoms to be concerned about?

1. Feeling worried or anxious 

Excessive and constant worry that and interferes with life could be a sign of anxiety. Other symptoms of anxiety may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, restlessness, diarrhea or a racing mind.

2. Feeling depressed or unhappy 

Losing interest in a hobby, seeming sad or irritable for a few weeks or more, lacking in motivation and energy or teary all the time; may be signs a person might be dealing with depression.

3. Emotional outbursts 

Sudden and dramatic changes in mood, such as extreme distress or anger, can be a symptom of mental illness.

4. Sleep problems 

Persisting changes to a person’s sleep patterns could be a symptom of a mental illness. For example insomnia; could be a sign of anxiety or substance abuse. Sleeping too much or too little could indicate depression or an eating disorder.

5. Weight or appetite changes 

Fluctuating weight or rapid weight loss could be one of the warning signs of a mental illness, such as depression or aneating disorder. Other mental health issues can impact appetite and weight too.

6. Quiet or withdrawn  

Withdrawing from life, especially if this is a major change, could indicate a mental health issue. If a friend or loved one is regularly isolating themselves, and refusing to join in social activities they may need help.

7. Substance abuse 

Using substances, such as alcohol or drugs, to cope can be a sign of, and a contributor to, mental health issues.

8. Feeling guilty or worthless 

Thoughts like ‘I’m a failure’, ‘It’s my fault’ or ‘I’m worthless’ are all potentially signs of a mental health issue, such as depression. Frequently criticising or blaming themselves is a sign the person may need help. 

9. Changes in behaviour or feelings

A mental illness may start out as subtle changes to a person’s feelings, thinking and behaviour. Changes’ such as an unusual drop in functioning, or difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain, heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch,  unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical thinking in an adult and fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling are all warning signs that the person may be developing a mental illness. 

Getting help

A combination of symptoms that are ongoing and significant and that interfere with day to day life, could be a sign that a person has or is developing a mental health issue and it’s important to start the conversation about getting professional help.

The first step for a person with mental illness symptoms is to see a doctor or healthcare professional. Dial triple zero (000) if you’re concerned a friend or loved one is at immediate risk of suicide or self-harm

Sources:

www.mindhealthconnect.org.au

www.psychiatry.org

What is clinical depression?

 Feeling sad or low from time to time is normal, and for most people these feelings are brief and pass. However some people may experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and often without any apparent reason.

Depression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s physical and mental health. A person may be depressed if for an extended period of time (> 2 weeks) they experience persistent feeling of sadness and/or have lost interest or no longer get pleasure from activities that previously interested them. Sadness that is associated with bereavement although intense and long lasting, is considered a normal response to grief and is separate from depression. 

Major depression affects how a person feels thinks and behaves and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. Someone who is depressed may have trouble doing normal day to day activities and may feel as if life isn’t worth living. They may also worry and think negatively about the future, themselves and their circumstances. Other symptoms include irritability, agitation and fatigue, changes in sleeping patterns (either sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping). In some case sufferers may have thoughts of death or suicide and such thoughts indicate the need for immediate professional help.

Depression is not something to be ashamed of and is not a sign of weakness, or a lack of discipline and in fact approximately one in five people will experience an episode of clinical depression in their lifetime.

A depressed person cannot just ‘snap out of’ these feeling but with help from a trained mental health practitioner and a recovery plan that utilises a combination of counselling, lifestyle changes and medication, the chances for recovery are very good. 

Sources:

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.psychology.org.au

www.mayoclinic.org

Are visits to psychiatrists and psychologists covered by Medicare?

Mental health services provided by general practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists, psychologists (clinical and registered) and eligible social workers and occupational therapists are covered by Medicare under the Better Access initiative

To be eligible you need to have an assessed mental disorder and be referred by: 

A GP managing the patient under a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan or 

Under a referred psychiatrist assessment and management plan or 

A psychiatrist or paediatrician.

If you are eligible you can claim for up to ten individual and ten group allied mental health services per calendar year. 

Eligible services under this initiative include psychological assessment and therapy services provided by clinical psychologists, and focussed psychological strategies services provided by appropriately qualified GPs and eligible psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists. 

Psychiatrists and paediatricians are able to directly refer patients with mental disorders for Medicare rebateable allied mental health services. 

If you see a health professionals as a public patient at a community health centre or a public hospital, the service is likely to be free. If you see a psychiatrist in private practice, the cost will vary depending on the length of the session and the fee being charged by the mental health practitioner. Medicare will refund part of the consultation fee and charges in excess of the Medicare rebate are the responsibility of the patient. Some health professionals may bulk bill some patients which means that as a patient, you don’t have to pay a fee. Treatment fees will vary and you should check this with the practitioner before commencing your treatment

Sources:

www.bupa.com.au

https://www.psychology.org.au

https://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider/business/education/files/m…

What is meant by psychotic symptoms ?

Some illness such schizophrenia disrupt brain function so much that they can cause a condition called psychosis. When someone experiences psychosis they are unable to distinguish what is real and they lose contact with reality. Psychosis can lead to changes in mood and thinking and to abnormal ideas. Symptoms can vary from person to person and may change over time but some of the more characteristic symptoms include;

Confused thinking
When acutely ill, people with psychotic symptoms experience disordered thinking. The everyday thoughts that let us live our daily lives become confused and don’t join up properly.

Delusions
A delusion is a false belief held by a person which is not held by others of the same cultural background.

Hallucinations
The person sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes something that is not actually there. The hallucination is often of disembodied voices which no one else can hear.

Changed feelings

The way the sufferer feels can change for no obvious reason. They might feel strange and cut off from the world, with everything moving in slow motion. Mood swings are common- between excited or depressed. They may also feel less emotion or show less emotion to those around them.

Changed behaviour

People with psychotic symptoms may be extremely active or have difficulty getting the energy to do things, laugh when things don’t seem funny, or become angry or upset without any cause. 

Onset

Around three in one hundred people will experience psychosis at some time in their lives, with most experiencing their first episode in their late teens and early twenties. Psychosis is frightening for the person and misunderstood by others, but can be treated, with most people making a full recovery. Without treatment, psychosis can seriously disrupt the sufferer’s life and development, so it’s important to seek help early.

Treatment
Safe and effective treatments for psychosis is easily available and usually involves medication and community support. These treatments can do much to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms. Avoiding drugs, reducing stress and learning ways to cope with stress can help prevent the symptoms from returning in the future. Getting help early generally leads to better outcomes and a quicker recovery. General practitioners (GPs) and clinicians at your local mental health service will be able to provide the help you need.

Sources: 

www.sane.org

www.headspace.org.au

August

Tough and Up

How do we build resilience?

    Guest speaker – Matthew Johnstone 

Compelling, captivating, inspiring

15 October 2015
11.30am
– for secondary students
6.30pm – for parents & community

Tough and Up – forum for parents & community

 toughDate: Thursday, 15 October 2015 – 6:30pm to 9:00pm

    Guest speaker – Matthew Johnstone 

A forum for parents & community

Date: 15 October 2015

Time: 6.30pm – 9pm

Venue: RSL Club, Wagga Wagga

Bookings: Please contact:

Jan Gray at bookings@riverinabluebell.org.au

phone: 0418 841 196

Be inspired, engaged and informed by:

  • Matthew Johnstone,internationally renowned author and creator of the ‘Black Dog’ series
  • Luke Kennedy, author of ‘Stabbed Ego – A Thug’s Journey to Enlightenment’
  • local mental health advocates Chris Wilson, Joe Williams & Samantha Brunskill

What is resilience? How do we build it?

Resilience is only really forged when we deal with issues that challenge us, mentally emotionally and physically.

These can be both good and bad events in life.

  • What can be learnt from these experiences?
  • How do we do we turn a negative into something positive and meaningful and grow from it?
  • How can we develop skills to help us to maintain resilience, an inner toughness and a better sense of wellbeing?

community-toughUp | PDF 239kb

September

Mental Health Community Programs

 flyerTake the step to increase Mental Health Awareness in your school or community group by booking a free Riverina Bluebell presentation.

Increasing resilience and rasing awareness of mental health by sharing stories and indentifying avenues for support.

»   Mental Health Community Programs

 

Can We Talk?

Date: Tuesday, 22 September 2015 – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

The Sunday Telegraph has partnered with headspace, Black Dog Institute, ClubsNSW and the NRL State of Mind program for the Wagga Wagga forum. Leading mental health experts from headspace, Black Dog Institute and Sydney University and people with a lived experience will be speaking and answering questions from audience members, withThe Sunday Telegraph deputy editor Claire Harvey acting as MC and facilitator. Also joining the panel will be NRL’s State of Mind Ambassador Dan Hunt.

Doors open 6pm, forum commences 6.30pm (sharp) and concludes at 8.30pm

See below link to RSVP for this event:

http://www.123contactform.com/form-1543286/Can-We-Talk-Wagga

October

Riverina EAP is hosting an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy demonstration session to coincide with Mental Health Week 2015.

Riverina EAP is hosting an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy demonstration session to coincide with Mental Health Week 2015.

You are invited to join us:

Friday 9th of October  – 10.30am -12pm

At the “Finchley Centre”, 321 Plumpton Road, Wagga Wagga

No cost – Demonstration and Morning Tea.

Riverina EAP | PDF 543kb