Growing number of ways to get involved

A meeting at Gerringong Town Hall, organised by Gezza Cares (see below), brought together individuals and representatives from various organisations across the region to talk about collaborating together to help everyone feel valued and included.

Insights and practical support was offered by experts, individuals shared their stories and concerns, and offers of help were made.

All there agreed on the need to work cooperatively and share what is working well with other groups.

Special mention was made of the need to include young people in the decision making, to meet their needs.

Here is just a taste of what is happening already:

Gezza Cares
Gezza Cares is a community-led network with a specific focus on caring for our young people and young adults.

Its philosophy is captured in: strength together, kindness together, hope together.

Gezza Cares is the Gerringong hub to harness community compassion and take collective action with a coordinated response that addresses the mental health needs in our community, and to bring hope for a brighter future.

They aim to help by:

  • supporting local initiatives in the community
  • creating new initiatives like Yellow Up Gerringong
  • connecting training professionals and educators to community groups
  • assisting with mental health education in the community
  • organising educational sessions such as Maggie Dent on navigating life’s challenges
  • working to get a full time youth centre in Gerringong up and running
  • searching for ways to improve the mental wellness of all those in our community, from the young to the elderly.

While Gezza Cares wants to remain hyper-local, their care extends to the whole community and would be happy for the Cares concept to be expanded to other localities.

Keep in touch via www.facebook.com/gezzacares or gday@gezzacares.com

Learn how to help those around you
COORDINARE – the South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network – is encouraging people to undertake free training to help you become suicide aware and support those around you.

Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training is a free one-hour online course you can do to learn the three simple steps to help save a life from suicide.

“QPR training will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that somebody may be suicidal, confidence to talk to them about suicidal thoughts, and the ability to connect them with professional care,” says CEO Dianne Kitcher.

“Research shows anyone can have a positive influence on a friend, family member or work colleague they are worried about by starting a conversation and supporting them to seek help.”

Note: This training is not recommended for individuals recently bereaved by suicide, as it is not a therapy or support group, but an education session to learn how to support others.

Find out more at reachoutanytime.info

Their team mates have joined Callum and Tyran in their Mullet fundraiser

Mullets for Mental Health
Gerringong and Kiama are going to be awash with mullet hairstyles (business at the front, party at the back) at the end of August.

What started out as an attempt by Gerringong brothers Callum and Tyran Wishart (above) to raise $1000 for the Black Dog Institute’s Mullets for Mental Health has snowballed.

Over 60 other young locals have joined their team, and at time of writing the amount raised is $75,000.

The brothers lost a cousin to suicide when they were in school, so have been around the impacts from a young age. Recent deaths have included good friends.

“We wanted to take a stand around the stigma of not being able to talk and just raise some awareness around mental health.

“This seemed a great way to reach other young people.”

He expects that when the cuts happen they will become a talking point, which will again help raise awareness.

Donate to the fundraiser at www.teamblackdog.org.au/fundraisers/tyandcal

Makuta masks
The Makuta initiative, to raise money to support suicide prevention initiatives, has only been going for two weeks, and already has already raised over $20,000 through the sale of their volunteer-made reusable masks.

Supply is still trying to catch up with demand at the moment, and the group welcomes volunteers to help with any part of the production process, from pattern cutting and sewing, to packing and delivering.

An advisory board is being formed to allocate the money raised to a variety of local projects.

Find out more at www.facebook.com/makuta or www.makutayouth.org or info@makutayouth.org

24 hours of rowing
Members of Gerringong SLSC are participating in the third annual 24 Hour Row for Mental Health. to raise funds for Gotcha4Life.

“Our hope is we can get some resources down here to do some training with the Nippers and the parents to build some skills among the young people,” says Vice President, Simon Sadler.

Around 60 people have volunteered for the three shifts, starting at noon on Saturday 22 August, which will be broadcast via zoom.

{Simon also welcomes people to join the Werri Point Swimmers, a social group who take the plunge every day of the week at 8.30am, with Sunday the main swim.)

Donate at https://surflifesaving-24hour-row-2020.raisely.com/t/gerringongsurfclub

Find out about services
Kiama Council, in association with the Local Area Health District, is holding information stalls at the Kiama Farmers’ Market over the coming weeks (Surf Beach, Weds 3-5pm) to help with information on how you can access mental health programs and activities.

Council’s Youth Service is also conducting a pop-up drop-in sessions at the Werri Beach Progress Hall throughout August, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3-6pm.

Council has developed a Mental Health Support page to act as a hub to find online resources.

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