Health and happiness awaits, so get amongst it 

THE message was clear at Warrnambool’s  Civic Green yesterday: there are all sorts of ways to connect with your community.

There were massages and manicures on offer, free coffee and sporting and community groups showcased what was available to improve overall health and well-being.

Jenny Altmann, from Western District Employment Access, invited people to work on a mural with painted messages that included Love Conquers All, Hope and Harmony.

“I’ve always thought with mental health if you paint a day it keeps the doctor away,” she said.

“Being creative is good for your mental health.

“All different people have put different words. It’s about expressing yourself creatively.”

Those who attended were also treated to a performance from the STAR-beat choir which is made up of clients, consumers and carers from South West Healthcare and other organisations.

Some of the choir’s own compositions were performed, along with Home Among The Gum Trees, Bad Moon Rising and Only You.

Choir member Janet Punch said the group met every Wednesday at the Archie Graham centre and more people were welcome.

“You don’t have to be able to sing, you just have to like singing,” she said.

“We sing for our mental health.” 

Linda Wright, a community mental health practitioner with Mind Australia, said although grey skies had threatened rain it had held off and ensured the Get Amongst It event was a success.

“Connections into the community is really important for general overall well-being, including mental health,” she said.

“It helps to reduce isolation and people can see what’s available within the local community.”

The event was held as part of Mental Health Week.

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