Mental health project launched

A new initiative to help people tackle mental health issues will be launched in Wollongong.

Mind Blank Inc will launch the SCUBA initiative (Subconscious Understanding for Better Awareness) at the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant with supporters from the IMB Building Society Community Foundation and the Teen Spirit Charitable Foundation.

The SCUBA Initiative uses interactive theatre to show a worse-case mental health scenario from start to finish.

Then the cast of the show replay certain scenes, taking suggestions as to how the conflicts could be better resolved.

The project aims to increase the number of people seeking help for their emotional and social wellbeing and increase the identification, referral, and treatment of at risk individuals by service systems and professionals.

The actors are from Mind Blank which is a not-for-profit organisation.

The troupe has been preparing for the new show for months.

Managing director Ally Kelly said the initiative was about working to reduce the negative stigma surrounding the discussion of mental health.

“I’m passionate about mental health … because I believe that no one needs to suffer in silence,” she said.

“We bring up mental health topics in a non-threatening way.”

IMB Community Foundation chairman Lynton Nicholas said the IMB was delighted to support Mind Blank Inc’s work increasing awareness of mental health issues in the community, particularly among youth.

“We at IMB are convinced that the organisation will continue to flourish and positively contribute to the Illawarra community,” he said.

The guest speaker at Wednesday’s launch will be Professor Brin Grenyer, a scientific director for neuroscience and mental health at Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute.

A strong message being conveyed by the initiative is the value of connecting mental health and counselling services within and outside schools, and the importance of seeking help.

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