General News — 22 January 2014
Ride for mental health

HOME-GROWN rock stars Phil Jamieson and Pat Davern – of Grinspoon fame – led the pack of Rock N Ride celebrities on Harley-Davidsons who stopped in Lismore yesterday as part of their east coast tour to raise awareness for headspace centres.

The troop of musicians, TV personalities and sportspeople left the Gold Coast on Monday morning, following Sunday’s Big Day Out, and are heading south, finishing at the Adelaide Big Day Out on January 25.

Having grown up in the Northern Rivers, Mr Jamieson said he was well aware of the limited mental health facilities in the region, particularly for younger people.

He said it was important to get the message out about treating mental health the same way you would any other illness.

“For example, some people who have a broken arm should treat that the same as anxiety or depression,” Mr Jamieson said. “It should just be a part of the dialogue instead of stigmatising it.bigstock_group_jumping_16235579

“If I have a broken arm, I need to go and see someone about it rather than letting it fester.”

The Lismore headspace centre, which opens on January 28, will provide information, support and services to young people dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, relationships, drug and alcohol abuse and bullying.

Lismore mum Kellie Gawler and her daughter Ebonie Gawler, 12, were at Lismore Supercheap Auto yesterday to meet rugby league legend Nathan Hindmarsh, who was part of the Rock N Ride tour.

“I think a lot of kids don’t know how to go about it and with this headspace, I think it’s the best thing they can do to make the kids more aware,” Ms Gawler said.

Lismore headspace operations manager Katrina Alexander said an important part of headspace was to de-stigmatise mental health.

“It’s great that we’ve got service provisions in town, but I think if we can change the way young people think about mental health, and take the stigma and the fear and the shame out of it, then we’ve got a real opportunity to give the next generation greater access to services,” she said.

In the past seven years, headspace has been introduced to more than 100 centres throughout Australia.

This article first appeared on ‘Coffs Coast Advocate’ on 21 January 2014.

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