Winter warmers concert helps town beat the blues
SOUTH Burnett Suicide Prevention Working Group will be gathering as many winter comforts as they can for the Winter Warmers concert.
Hot soup, knitted scarves and beanies will be given away in the Kingaroy Town Hall forecourt today while country artist Liam Brew plays his live music.
Group chair Danita Potter said the goods were knitted by volunteers from Brisbane to Bundaberg for the event.
"Just about everyone in Kingaroy in a knitting group is knitting for us,” she said.
There will be free children's craft activities and biscuit decorating, face painting and make-up run by various South Burnett community groups.
The Lions club will be running a free sausage sizzle, biscuits from Endeavour and soups from the Meals on Wheels kitchen will be available on the night.
"Bring your friends and have a cuppa, you don't have to cook or do the dishes, just come down, rejuvenate and enjoy yourself,” Ms Potter said.
Group member Kirsty Cauley said the event was supposed to be a fun thing and an opportunity for people to look after themselves.
"The music is proven to help with the mood and mental health, knitting, it helps, and we're celebrating winter in the South Burnett,” she said.
One in five Australians aged from 16 to 85 experience a mental illness in any one year, the Black Dog Institute reported.
Group member Andrea McGee said more than half of Australians with mental illness did not access any treatment and the South Burnett group wanted to decrease the stigma.
"We want people to talk and raise awareness about mental health and suicide awareness,” she said.
The annual event, which drew more than 120 people last year, was designed to give people a chance to relax, have a break and a chance to talk, Ms McGee said.
Ms Potter said the more people talked about their mental health the more that would get done, which was important as the statistics were quite scary.
"What people need to realise is the statistics are that one in four people have contemplated suicide and that's the sad fact,” she said.
Suicide is a major issue across the Darling Downs, with specific hotspots in Chinchilla and Cherbourg, Ms Potter said.
Cherbourg Hospital reported that over the last year up to five suicides occurred in the Cherbourg community, which was significantly above the general rule in remote area rates, she said.
Ms Cauley said mental illness could happen to anyone as people did not often have control over their situations.
"That's made worse in the South Burnett because it's difficult to access services, as we have limited services and it's hard to get into GPs and get a mental health plan,” she said.
The South Burnett Suicide Prevention Working Group was advocating to make the pathways better and easier for people to get treatment, Ms Cauley said.
There will be flyers about how and where to get support for mental health and plenty of people who are ready to listen at the event.
The free Winter Warmers concert will run in the Kingaroy Town Hall forecourt today from 4-7pm.
For more details see the South Burnett Suicide Prevention Working Group Facebook page.