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Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Friday, 15 June 2012

Jumping a hurdle and spreading the word about mental health

By Darren Stones
Member of beyondblue BlueVoices

On my recent trip to Grenfell in New South Wales for the 55th Henry Lawson Festival of Arts, one of the opportunities I had was to distribute beyondblue information to local residents. To be honest, I had no idea how this would pan out.

I left Melbourne with a box full of beyondblue information because I wanted to raise awareness about mental health. It was the first time I had attempted anything like this, and to my delight, everyone who I offered the information to gladly accepted it.

Would be fair to say I was a little anxious about doing this in such an overt way, however I feel it went well. Walking around town with beyondblue bags over my shoulder wasn't exactly unnoticable, so putting myself out there was a hurdle I jumped.

Sometimes I think to myself as to whether people are uncomfortable about accepting information relating to depression, anxiety and the like, but I think deep down they appreciate the thought behind it. Really, there's nothing to be afraid of in giving and receiving. We all know of someone who could benefit from it, so passing it on to someone else can be of benefit.

It was said to me in Grenfell as to whether I wanted to be remembered as someone who talked openly about mental health, or as a photographer. Given I co-judged the festival's competition and was involved in hanging the images, conducted a photography workshop as part of the festival, and raised awareness about mental health, I am happy to be remembered for both.

The trip to Grenfell was a breakthrough for me in more ways than one. I would like to think I made a positive impact in regard to raising awareness about how people can recover from depression and go on to helping others.

Thank you Grenfell. I miss the cafe already. :)

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Darren Stones