Themed “my inner superpower” it was hard to not notice the effort put in by a large number of community members to promote mental health awareness on Wednesday October 16, which also involved participants donating to Buy a Bale and Suicide Prevention Australia.
All students at St Francis School and Hughenden State School got behind the Free Dress Day as well as businesses like the Hughenden Doctor’s Surgery, FoodWorks, 5 Star Supermarket and Hughenden Kindergarten and Early Childcare Centre.
About $380 was raised by the community on the Free Dress Day, which added to Flinders Shire Council’s $1000 donation made to Buy a Bale earlier in the year.
The drought, which is currently affecting the large grazing population of north-west Queensland both physically and mentally, has prompted an outpouring of community support for mental health care and awareness in recent months.
Mayor Greg “Hulk” Jones, who chaired a council meeting in full green bodysuit and green facemask, said he was impressed with the number of people who went to the effort of dressing as their inner superpower.
“This is a very worthy cause and one that needs our support more than ever,” he said.
When asked to describe their superpower and why mental health awareness was important to them, people had plenty to say.
Flinders Shire Public Library “Super Librarian” Tracey Edwards said her superpower was her mind.
“Keep your mind young and healthy by reading. I’ve got a library card and know who to use it,” she said.
Council Project Engineer Hari Boppudi dressed in white because he said it projected purity, cleanliness, and neutrality.
“Many people don’t realise how much damage mental illness will cause to individuals and families,” he said.
“This ‘Free Dress Day’ provides an opportunity for everyone to dress in the way they want to be for at least one working day in a year.
“In some way, I believe this will provide them a good relief hopefully for a while from routine problems.”
Deputy Mayor and property owner Ninian Stewart-Moore has worked closely with those affected by the drought and was a major force in ensuring an event was held for Mental Health Month in 2013.
He brought in a pile of positive thinking books as part of his costume.
“We are what we think, we think what we know, we know what we learn, we learn by reading and listening,” he said.
This article first appeared on the North Queensland Register on 23 October, 2013.