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Huge success at Carpe Diem event – October 2016

Mental Health Month provided an opportunity for Riverina Bluebell to partner with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP), Centre Stage Scripts, Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD), Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and National Disability Coordinator Officers Program (DSCO) to tour Carpe Diem across the Riverina.

Carpe Diem is a live theatre performance that addresses mental health in rural communities. It stresses the importance of professional care in times of crises, and highlights the importance of mate ship and looking out for each other.

Written by Arts and Health Production Company, Centre Stage Scripts and starring acclaimed actor John Wood, Carpe Diem is a contemporary portrayal of every day Australian males dealing with issues of health, grief, loss and depression.

In November 2015 RAMHP Coordinator Helen Sheather reviewed the play and recognised the potential it provided to deliver positive mental health messages to small communities in an entertaining way. Helen approached writer Megan Rigoni from Centre Stage Scripts with the idea of touring the play within the MLHD.

An Expression of Interest to host the tour was sent to 21 Local Government Areas and after extensive consultation twelve shires responded favourably. The tour visited the rural communities of Henty, Holbrook, Gundagai, Junee, Temora, Boorowa, West Wyalong, Lake Cargelligo, Ganmain, Coleambally, Berrigan, Corowa and Lockhart from October 14th – 28th 2016.

Rural Adversity Mental Health Coordinators Helen Sheather and Merilyn Limbrick were excited to work in partnership with each community to ensure the event was accessible, relevant, inclusive and delivered free of charge for the audience members. In order to reach this goal numerous other partners from each community provided financial and in kind support.

The extremely successful tour provided the opportunity for thirteen performances to be held with a total of 1152 people attending. The feedback was overwhelming positive with many comments reflecting the value in using theatre to tell stories about the common issues experienced by rural Australia.

If you, or someone you know may be experiencing mental illness call the MLHD AccessLine on 1800 800 944 or the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 to arrange local support.