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Archive 2010


Better Access to Mental Health Care

The Better Access program was introduced to include Medicare rebates for consultations with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists.

To qualify for rebates under the Better Access program, a person with depression, anxiety or other mental disorder first needs to make an appointment to see a GP. The GP will assist the person to develop a plan for treatment of the particular problem. The plan will nominate the health professionals to whom the person will be referred and the Medicare rebate will be available for those services. BetterAccess-Q&As | PDF 931kb

Cricket Charity Match


Depression support group

HOOD – Helping Ourselves Overcome Depression

HOOD – Helping Ourselves Overcome Depression

HOOD – Helping Ourselves Overcome Depression

HOOD – Helping Ourselves Overcome Depression

Assisting with difficult times and emotions

Workshop for carers and families – Schizophrenia

Assisting with depression

Carers support group

Depression support group


‘Open minds’ – support group Temora

‘Safe’ – mental health support group – Tumbarumba

‘Safe’ – mental health support group – Tumbarumba

Mental health support group – Tumut

Mental health support group – Tumut

Talk Out Loud

redcrossWho is it for?

A mental health project for young people in drought affected areas

  • Find out more about mental health
  • Talk about mental health issues in your community
  • Help your mates who may be having difficulties

What is Talk Out Loud?

Talk Out Loud is a ‘save-a-mate’ initiative for young people who may be feeling the effects of drought in their communities.

The aims of the program are to:

  • increase knowledge and understanding of mental health and mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety
  • decrease stigma
  • increase the confidence of young people to talk about mental health, seek assistance early and support their peers.

Talk Out Loud is delivered in workshop format over 1 day (6 Hours) and is run by trained peer educators.

There are no restrictions on who can attend but Talk Out Loud is primarily for young people aged 14 to 25.


The Talk Out Loud workshop has been developed by Red Cross and Beyond Blue and will initially be available in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria commencing in July/August 2007.

More information

NSW: Janelle Sparks
phone: 02 9229 4261

Ollie Nguy
phone: 02 9229 4208

email: nswsam@redcross.org.au

Clinical Practice Guidelines

bb_smIn 2009 and 2010 beyondblue: the national depression initiative funded and led the development of two sets of Clinical Practice Guidelines.

These draft guideline documents draw on the latest research evidence about the best way to identify, treat and manage depression, anxiety and related disorders.

The DRAFT Clinical Practice Guidelines were compiled by expert advisory groups, drawing upon the best available evidence. These groups include some of Australia’s leading mental health experts, as well as people who have experienced mental health problems and their carers.

The guidelines are freely available to the public during a consultation period from March 13 to May 12, 2010.

Public consultation

Before the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) can approve these guidelines and thereby make them official, members of the public and health professionals have the opportunity to make submissions.

Free public consultation workshops for health professionals and the general public will be held around the country during March, April and May 2010. At each session, experts involved in the development of the guidelines will explain them in detail.

After the consultation period, both sets of the Guidelines will be revised, based on the submissions and feedback, and a final document will be submitted to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for approval.

Adjungbilly cricket triumph!

The Rural, 25 March 2010

Merging Minds Conference

Merging Minds Conference – registration due

Submitted by Riverina Bluebell on 25 March 2010 – 9:10pm


Partners in depression – training opportunity

Burnt by Sydney Theatre Company – Ardlethan

Burnt by Sydney Theatre Company – Morundah


Burnt by Sydney Theatre Company – West Wyalong

Burnt by Sydney Theatre Company – Lockhart

Friends of Sunflower House Dinner Dance


GROW support group – Cootamundra

GROW support group – Cootamundra

GROW support group – Cootamundra

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

Carers support group – Wagga Wagga


Inaugural Riverina Bluebell Cup

After the presentation: members of Riverina Bluebell and South Wagga Rotary with the Riverina Bluebell Cup.

After the presentation: members of Riverina Bluebell and South Wagga Rotary with the Riverina Bluebell Cup.

Marrar and the Northern Jets contested the inaugural Riverina Bluebell Cup on Saturday 10th July 2010 at Langtry Oval, Marrar.

AFL NSW/ACT, Riverina Bluebell and the GSAHS Kicking Goals with Rural Mental Health program came up with the idea to hold the day to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and normalize mental health illnesses and issues.

Points from both the football and netball games were tallied during the day with the Riverina Bluebell Cup being awarded to the club that had the highest number of points at the completion of the round.

A wonderful day was enjoyed by all who took part with promotional merchandise being hand out at the gate, Riverina Bluebell banners being placed around the ground and a mental health resources being available from an information stand.

Marrar Football Club was excited to receive the trophy from John Bull who is the Chairperson of Riverina Bluebell. Both Marrar and the Northern Jets acknowledged the benefits of the day and expressed their appreciation when the game balls were donated to the clubs.


Mental Health Forum

Egansford farm family and community gathering

World Suicide Prevention Day

Many Faces Many Places: suicide prevention across the world


Mental health specialist employment services


  • Employment Consulting
    • Assistance with, Applications Resume/CV and Cover Letters
    • Interview Techniques
    • On-the-Job Support
  • Post placement support
  • Flexible and Personalised Servicing

desFrom the 1st March 2010, Ostara will be operating a specialist employment service for people suffering with a mental illness. The service will specifically assist people living with a mental illness between 14 and 65 years-of-age with getting into employment. We are also able to assist in the maintenance of current employment considered to be at risk due to mental illness.

For more information, or to discuss eligibility, please contact Garry at Ostara on 0409392209. DES-poster | PDF 192kb

Introducing the REN website – Respite Education Network

RENThe REN website is a respite-specific education, training and information sharing portal for carers and respite service providers in the Riverina Murray region. Both carers and service providers have open access to the REN calendar and are able to upload their own event information as well as access a wide range of education and training opportunities across the region.

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HowToUsetheREN 991.21 KB

Dramatic Minds Festival 2010


Wagga Wagga & Region Suicide Prevention Network


The Wagga Wagga and Region Suicide Prevention Network aims to:

  • reduce suicidal intention and reduce deaths or serious injury by suicide or attempted suicide
  • reduce the stigma of suicide and mental health in our community
  • promote an awareness of the early warning signs of a person’s intention to commit suicide.
  • educate, empower and resource our local communities
  • developing partnerships across and between sectors, organisations and individuals
  • continue to work towards improvement in suicide prevention and awareness

Chairperson: Catherine Clarke

Vice Chairperson: Cr Kevin Wales

Treasurer: Lex Burgess

Secretary: Jenny Azar

Committee Reader: Kylie Van Mourik

Meeting Date: 2nd Tuesday of each month
Time: 3.30pm – 5pm
Venue: Riverina Division of General Practice & Primary Health, Piercy Place 1/185 Morgan St

Vision – We aim to reduce suicide and its stigma through informing, connecting and empowering the community.

Values – The community has ownership of and responsibility for action to prevent suicide. Suicide prevention activities will do no harm.


  • establish community networks
  • strengthening existing networks
  • improve understanding of suicide
  • raise awareness of the role people can play in reducing loss of life to suicide and attempted suicide.
  • raise awareness of appropriate ways of responding to people considering taking their own life
  • raise an awareness of where to go for help to prevent suicide and attempted suicide
  • develop skills in how to approach a person who is experiencing thoughts of suicide
  • inform and inspire with practical strategies
  • create an understanding of suicidal ideation
  • provide knowledge to help identify those at risk
  • reduce the taboo and stigma attached to suicide or attempted suicide for all community members affected

What a mate- DVD launched to wide acclaim

John Harper, DVDCootamundra Herald ASHLEIGH WARTON, 15 Oct, 2007

The concept of ‘mateship’ as a tool for conquering depression is something only a man used to making the best of a bad situation could come up with.

John Harper can proudly say, he is such a man.

More then 250 farmers and their families from across the district filled the Stockinbingal Hall last Thursday evening, gaining an insight into depression and mental illness and enjoying the first public viewing of the 11 minute Mate Helping Mate DVD at its launch.

Stockinbingal farmer John Harper the principal of the Mate Helping Mate initiative now wants to focus his energies spreading the message to the people that weren’t present.

“We now need to spread the message further to the people who didn’t come,” Mr Harper said.

In developing the program, Mr Harper, who himself has experienced depression, found talking to mates and neighbours comforting and said he wanted to offer the same sort of mateship to other farmers he knew.

His first step as the owner of a small bus was to get all his mates’ together to talk casually in an informal setting.

The initiative was successful beyond his wildest expectation, necessitating a bigger bus for his next ‘outing’.

“I invited health professionals to come along and mingle with the farmers, we commented on weather, prices or any other subjects that were relevant at the time,” Mr Harper said.

Mr Harper was approached by a member of St Vincent de Paul Society who urged him to consider making and participating in a DVD that could be distributed on a wider scale throughout rural communities.

The DVD was produced and was filmed in part with local farmers, in corporating individual’s personal stories.

“The concept of the DVD is based on social and creative self-help strategies for rural communities, and recognises the importance of mateship in bolstering hope, optimism and self worth in difficult times,” Mr Harper said.

Copies of the free DVD can be obtained through the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Rural Task Force by contacting (02) 9560 8666 or emailingruraltaskforce@vinnies.org.au

GROW support group – Cootamundra

About GROW

Meets Thursday mornings in Cootamundra.

For more information and venue ph.1800 558 268

GROW offers people organised friendly support through mutual help groups and a 12 Step Program of recovery. People in GROW have experienced many of the symptoms of mental illness; depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and mental and emotional distress. They’ve also had struggles with life. Losses of loved ones and jobs, marriage difficulties – these things can and do happen to people. These are some of the challenges that cause people to come to GROW.

People participating in GROW experience how extraordinarily liberating and affirming it is when they share their problems with others; especially when those other members have been through similar difficulties. At long last members discover that they are not alone.

Mens Health Day – Collingullie

 Contact John Myers.

About Riverina Bluebell

To request additions or corrections to the website, please email:web@riverinabluebell.org.au

Riverina Bluebell is a Wagga Wagga based not for profit community organisation run by volunteers.

Our goal is to raise awareness about mental health issues in the Riverina and encourage people to get help and support. We are not a service provider. We do not offer a counselling or referral service.

You may want to contact the Riverina Bluebell committee about:

  • membership
  • sponsorship
  • event opportunities
  • ideas for events and actvities
  • to have stories or news included on the website.

Please email: committee@riverinabluebell.org.au

Chairman Mac Armytage

Vice Chairman John Bull

Vice Chairman Chris Wilson

Secretary Diana Austin

Treasurer Lisa Metcalfe

Media Manager Nadine Crowley nadine@commsandco.com.au

Website manager Alexis Neylan web@riverinabluebell.org.au

Trip to hell and back

The Leader
13 October 2010

Chris Wilson relives the journey he took to hell and back in a bid toprevent others from following the same trail.

The 43-year-old farmer remembers only too vividly how he felt depression was taking him on a one-way road to self-destruction.

“It felt like I was taking a slow walk through cold water until I was in it up to my neck,” said Chris, who lives
north-east of Wagga.

“I was out of control – I would spend days on end inside my home unable to work – and I thought there was nothing I could do about it.

“I barely had enough energy to get out of bed, let alone do something to fix my problem.”

Chris said he waged a 10-year battle, believing the depression was triggered by the death of his younger brother Matt in a farm accident.

“I didn’t grieve for my brother …I locked everything up inside and didn’t want to show my emotions,” he said.

“That’s when it all started and then when the drought hit it was like a double blow for me.”

Chris said he constantly had a “helpless, sinking feeling” and only sought help after a family member intervened.

“It took a long time for me to realise I had a problem, and when I did it made things worse,” he said.

“I live on my own and I hid it so well from my friends.

“Then one day my sister confronted me about it … she knew there was something wrong.

“In the end she locked the house and told me I wasn’t going anywhere until I called someone for help.

“I tolerated everything until I was backed into a corner.”

Chris received professional help and is now a “different man”.

“There were times when I had dangerous thoughts, but now I am enjoying life again,” he said.

“I discovered that depression does not have to be a life sentence.

“Anyone who thinks they might have a problem should see their GP straight away.”

Chris is now a committee member for Riverina Bluebell, a not-for-profit Wagga-based group committed to improving the lives of those affected by mental illness.

“Riverina Bluebell is always there to point people in the right direction,” he said.

Young carers need care too

Sunflower House

SUPPORT: October is mental health month and community development officer for mental health at Sunflower House Bev Denley (right) and co-ordinator of Riverina Murray Respite Services Larah Walsh are raising awareness about the number of young carers in Wagga who care for their mentally ill parents.

The Daily Advertiser
11 October 2010

BEFORE he leaves the house each morning, Andrew will make the school lunches, feed the toddler, hang out a load of washing and check the fridge to see what has to be bought for the family’s meal that night.

Andrew is nine years old and is living in a household with a parent affected by mental illness.

Community development officer for mental health at Sunflower House, Bev Denley, said Andrew is just one of more than one million children living in Australian households where at least one parent has a mental illness.

October is mental health month across Australia and Ms Denley is spreading the word to break down the stigma relating to mental illness.

“The message we want to send is to change the way people think about mental illness and that having a parent with a persistent mental illness really impacts on the life of their children and can make their lives very challenging,” she said.

Ms Denley has previously worked in education for 30 years, and said she is “ashamed to say” she wasn’t aware of how difficult it would be for young people caring for their parents with a mental illness.

“These parents can be so depressed that they can’t think clearly and may not give their children the same opportunities as other children may get,” she said.

“One out of five people experience mental illness, so that would mean there would be a lot of children living in a house with a mentally ill parent.”

“I am very committed to each young person being able to reach their potential in life.

“We need to reach out and offer our support to young carers.”

Our stories as carers

 Being a carer is often isolating and lonely. Sharing our stories is a small step to building understanding, networks and suppport. Sharing stories enables us to commiserate, to share, to support, to encourage, to affirm.

Young carers need care too
The Daily Advertiser 11 October 2010

Before he leaves the house each morning, Andrew will make the school lunches, feed the toddler, hang out a load of washing and check the fridge to see what has to be bought for the family’s meal that night.

John HarperMate Helping Mate – Farm family & community gathering

You are invited to a community event with guest speaker John Harper of Mate Helping Mate. John is a farmer who has experienced and recovered from depression. He has developed a program based on social and creative self-help strategies for managing difficult times. This program recognises the importance of mateship.

Venue: Morundah Hotel

Depression Support Group – Wagga Wagga

 Depression support group



Bongongo Adjungbilly Cricket day

2011 Charity match

2011 Charity Match

You are invited to Bongongo Adjungbilly for a day of fun at the“ACG”

Come and watch 8 charitable teams compete against each other and join our local community in supporting awareness of depression and mental illness in rural Australia.

Date: Saturday 5th March 2011 Time: 9.30am onwards
Venue: Bongongo, Adjungbilly via Coolac
Food: BBQ provided by Tumut Rotary Club or bring a Picnic Lunch Refreshments: BYO
Gate Entry: $10.00 Adult Children: Free Seating: Bring a Chair.

All proceeds will be donated to Riverina Bluebell

RSVP: 28 February 2011
Paul & Rachel Graham – Email: bongongo@aussiebroadband.com.au or ph: (02) 6946 6283

** As this is a fundraiser your response either way would be appreciated for catering purposes **

Kicking Goals with Rural Mental Health

  • Round 14: 22 August 2009 | KG-Round14
    Keeping active to prevent or manage depression and anxiety.
  • Round 13: 8 August 2009 | KG-Round13
    ‘Normal’ teenage behaviour or something to worry about?
  • Round 12: 1 August 2009 | KG-Round12
    Improving sleep patterns.
  • Round 11: 25 July 2009 | KG-Round11
    Structured problem solving.
  • Round 10: 13 June 2009 | KG-Round10
    Reducing stress.
  • Round 9: 4 July 2009 | KG-Round9
    Intereach, Riverina Murray Respite and Carelink Centre (CRCC), Tenant Participation and Resource Service (TPRS), CommuniCare 5000.
  • Round 8: 13 June 2009 | KG-Round8
    Depression – how to seek treatment or help others
  • Round 7: 30 May 2009 | KG-Round7
    Depression – in summary
  • Round 6: 23 May 2009 | KG-Round6
    Getting help
  • Round 5: 16 May 2009 | KG-Round5
    Grief, loss and depression
  • Round 4: 9 May 2009 | KG-Round4
    Helping more mates
  • Round 3: 24-26 April 2009 | KG-Round3
    ‘Footy tips’ for staying well!
  • Round 2: 18 April 2009 | KG-Round2
    Events and happenings
  • Round 1: 4 April 2009 | KG-Round1
    Kicking goals with mental wellbeing

Riverina Bluebell Cup


From the AFL Riverina Regional Report, September 2010.

Farrer FNL clubs Marrer and Northern Jets along with Riverina FNL CLUBS Leeton-Whitton and Narrandera Football and Netball Clubs played for the inaugural Riverina Bluebell Cups in August 2010.

The Riverina Bluebell Cup is an initiative of and partnership between AFL NSW/ACT, AFL Riverina, Riverina Bluebell and the Greater Southern Area Health Service (GSAHS) Kicking Goals for Rural Mental Health program.

The aim of the day was to introduce and promote Riverina Bluebell, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, and to provide information relating to mental health and referral pathways for getting help. Points from all netball and football games on the days accrued, with the Riverina Bluebell Cup awarded to the Marrer FC and Leeton/Whitton FC.

Funds raised on both days were donated to Riverina Bluebell.

Chairperson of Riverina Bluebell, John Bull, thanks Paul Habel (AFL NSW/ACT), Shane Buchanan (AFL Riverina) and the Presidents and Committees of the Marrer, Northern Jets, Leeton-Whitton and Narrandera Football and Netball Clubs for welcoming Riverina Bluebell to the great game of Australian Rules Football and for supporting the inaugural concept of the Bluebell Cup.

Launch of the Wagga Wagga and Region Suicide Prevention Network

Wesley Mission
The newly formed Wagga Wagga and Region Suicide Prevention Network is having an event to launch the network on 11 Dec 2010. The Suicide Prevention Network has been formed under the auspices of Wesley Mission’s LifeForce.



Five ways to wellbeing

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Beyondblue Rural Workforce Training session in West Wyalong

Beyond BlueBeyondblue is holding a three hour Rural Workforce Training session in West Wyalong, aimed at those in the workforce who have regular contact with community members who may be facing tough times.

With more than three million people in Australia experiencing anxiety or depression at any one time, the likely impact on every community and workplace is enormous.

Issues covered in this training include:

  • What are depression, anxiety and related disorders?
  • What are the risk factors of mental health problems and how can they can be effectively treated?
  • How to approach someone you are concerned about.
  • What local and national resources are available?
  • How can you extend these messages in your local community?

When: Monday 6th December 2010
Where: Parish Centre (behind Catholic Church), Church Street. West Wyalong
Time: 8am-11am.
Cost: free
Riverina Division of General Practice

Refreshments and Beyondblue resources are provided.

Bookings are essential.

RSVP or further enquiries to: Emma McRae, e.mcrae@rdgp.com.au or
0458 233 111 by
30th November please.