HALT raises awareness of mental health; reaches one-year milestone

Central Victorian mental health awareness group HALT has turned one.

Co-founders Jeremy Forbes and Catherine Pilgrim are looking forward not behind.

The organisation was created in response to the emerging need for increased mental health awareness in November, 2013.

Since then, the group have built on the foundation of a solid regional community with the support of Bendigo Community Health Services.

Mr Forbes said the plan now was to go onward and upwards.

He said with the continued support of the community reaching new goals would be easier.

"I have spoken at all seven Rotary club sin the Bendigo region," he said

"I really appreciate what they have done for the cause."

Mr Forbes said the involvement of Rotary clubs would help sustain the idea of increased awareness.

"We aren't just sharing with tradies, but the whole community," he said.

Mr Forbes said the partnership with Bendigo Community Health was the reason for HALT's strong presence in the community.

VIEW: Co-founder Jeremy Forbes has a lot to look forward to. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

VIEW: Co-founder Jeremy Forbes has a lot to look forward to. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

They have given me the support and the knowledge to do it all.

Jeremy Forbes

"They have given me the support and the knowledge to do it all," he said.

"People (at BCHS) are the building blocks to make these things happen.

"Everyone is on the same wave length."

Mr Forbes said the plans he had for HALT had only just began.

"There is a big picture," he said.

"I am consumed with what we can do but still proud of its' humble beginnings."

HALT spreads the message of mental health through free breakfasts held at trade stores around Victoria.

Mr Forbes said this year they had hosted 11 breakfasts and planned to host more than 25 in 2015.

"This has been about the community opening up its hearts and minds and coming together," he said.

"I'd love every small town in Australia within a few years to be doing these sort of events and recognising their tradies."

Mr Forbes said hardware store owners were supportive of the initiative.

He said stores were hoping to have them more frequently next year.

Mr Forbes said each tradies breakfast had received a good response from owners of hardware stores.

"It is valued because they are their customers," he said.

"If they are looking after their mental health then they can work better.

"The hardware store owners know what's going on - they are aware of the issues."

Mr Forbes intends to expand the reach of HALT to the wider Castlemaine community at a comedy night fundraiser.

The comedy night will begin at 8pm on Friday, November 21 at the Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine.

"Some friends of mine are comedians and they see depression and mental health issues in the comedy world, too," Mr Forbes said.

"Comedy is good medicine.

"The money we raise we can put toward putting more events on in Central Victoria."

Event organiser Jo Bain said she was interested in supporting the cause.

Ms Bain works as a comedy event planner alongside her partner comedian Sean Bedlam.

Mr Bedlam will perform along with Dave O'Neil, Sean Bedlam, Luke Leonard, Gerladine Hickey and Mick Neven.

"We see a lot of depression and mental illness in this industry," Jo Bain said.

"I thought it would be good to raise a bit of money and awareness."

To purchase tickets call Jeremy Forbes on 0409 756 274.

Tickets are $25 each.

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