By Mick Jensen
The first ‘Beating The Blues’ workshop ran in Methven at the end of April and had an attendance of around 70 people.
Held in conjunction with the Rural Canterbury Primary Health Organisation and Mental Health Education & Resource Centre and with funding from the Ministry of Social Development, the evening event encourages more conversations around the area of mental health and depression.
The two speakers are former Ashburton policeman Pup Chamberlain and Methven born and raised Sam Robinson, who has publicly spoken about his near fatal battle with depression.
Pup Chamberlain said he would share funny stories, sad stories and other personal experiences from his 38 years in the police.
“The message I’ll be passing on is that it is important for people to talk to others in their community and with family and friends when times get tough.
“As a society we need to ask more questions and discuss issues more openly and without judgement.”
Mr Chamberlain, who works as a health promoter for community and public health, said “blokes were not generally good at talking about their problems and issues”, but that needed to change.
Former Mount Hutt College head boy Sam Robinson said he wanted to change the stigma around mental health by sharing his experience with others.
“My story is honest, real life stuff and brutal at times.
“I bottled up my feelings for years and was close to ending it all, before I finally asked for help.”
The 26-year-old said mental health issues applied equally to urban people as it did to those living in the country.
“The onus should be on others to look after their own as well. We need to look after our mates and discuss and talk about problems earlier.”
Mr Robinson said with the help of his doctor and with counselling support he had been able to start back at university and get his life back on track.
The free Beating The Blues workshop will be held at Ashburton Trust Event Centre on July 7 and runs between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Registrations at mherc.org.nz are preferred.