Step out and talk about mental health issues at the Let's Talk initiative's golf day

STEP out and help break the stigma surrounding mental health at a community golf day next Sunday.

The Let’s Talk initiative, founded in memory of Sam Fitzgibbon who took his own life last year, is hosting the event at the East Framlingham Golf Club. 

Let’s Talk has invited the community to come together and discuss mental health issues in an open and honest manner. Emmanuel College is also conducting a project about breaking down the stigmas associated with mental illness.

TIME TO TALK: Emmanuel College year 11 students Chelsea Hodgins and Amelia Quinlan with their message about mental health.

TIME TO TALK: Emmanuel College year 11 students Chelsea Hodgins and Amelia Quinlan with their message about mental health.

Anyone can come along for a chat and enjoy nine holes of golf on the day from 9.30am.

At 12.30pm the community, including those who have lost loved ones from suicide and those with an experience of anxiety and depression, are invited to step over a line to show they are united in breaking the stigma. A barbecue lunch will be available following the ‘step out’ celebration. St John of God Healthcare mental health manager and Let’s Talk spokesman John Parkinson said for too long the taboo of speaking about mental health had seen people hiding.  “The silence of the conversation has led to the inability of those suffering anxiety and depression to talk and seek help,” he said.

CLOSE MATES: Sam Fitzgibbon's friends are banding together to show their support. They will 'step out' at a community golf day.

CLOSE MATES: Sam Fitzgibbon's friends are banding together to show their support. They will 'step out' at a community golf day.

“Anxiety and depression can occur to anyone at any age. One in five will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is a treatable illness, in principal no different to diabetes or heart disease. We all need to stand proudly and support our community to step out from the darkness and acknowledge our experiences of anxiety and depression. Let’s unite and show the power of our community stepping out.”

Friend Paddy Kenna remembers Mr Fitzgibbon fondly.

RUNNING FOR SAM: A group of Sam Fitzgibbon's friends raised money for mental health services at a marathon in 2016.

RUNNING FOR SAM: A group of Sam Fitzgibbon's friends raised money for mental health services at a marathon in 2016.

“Sam was just a great bloke and we miss him in so many ways,” he said.

“He was always there for all of us. Sam – being so proud – he didn’t tell any of us how he was feeling. We all would have done anything to help him get treatment and support his recovery. Since Sam’s death we have come to understand that anxiety and depression are common illnesses, particularly in our age group, and if not treated can lead to a tragedy.

“As a friendship group, we now talk to each other much more and we ask or tell each other how we are feeling. We can’t continue to hide talking about our mental health. We are the future leaders of our community and we want you all to stand proudly with us and step out.” 

The event is on Sunday, March 26 at the East Framlingham Golf Club. Contact Jack Kenna on 0407 052 420 to play nine holes of golf. 

  •  Anyone who needs help can phone Lifeline on 131 114 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636
 Lucy Noonan and Kreeya Gladman

Lucy Noonan and Kreeya Gladman

Jack Goodall and Cameron Stewart

Jack Goodall and Cameron Stewart