Vibrant festivals across western Sydney celebrate ‘harmonious’ approach to mental health

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has celebrated Mental Health Month this October with several lively events across the region.

The theme was ‘tune in this Mental Health Month’, with a focus on self-care, community, connection and resilience.

These are sentiments that Professor Bill Brakoulias, Executive Director Mental Health Services WSLHD, said are crucial to mental wellbeing. Bill said the Mental Health Month festivals have served as a fantastic resource for people to bond and share with their community.

“We are encouraging people to get help for their mental health issues, to reduce stigma, to enable people to see that mental health is just as important as physical health,” Bill said.

Executive Director Mental Health Services WSLHD, Professor Bill Brakoulias, speaks at the Parramatta event.

“We want people to see that there are many opportunities to get help, and these uplifting events encourage us all to look after our mental health and work together in a harmonious way to share kindness and good mental health.”

Starting at the Blacktown Civic Centre, attendees were welcomed with a free coffee and treated to live performances and breathing exercises. There was also face painting, colouring-in and information available from experts on hand.

Just like the highs and lows of mental health, the weather went from torrential rain and storms in Blacktown to sweltering heat and sunshine in Parramatta.

Peer Worker Andrew Fleming spoke candidly about his lived experience with mental distress and suicide to the crowd gathered at Centennial Square in Parramatta.

Along with the dancing, drummers and performances, Andrew said that the ability to hear from different speakers and access information face-to-face was a huge benefit from these events for the community.

“It’s so important to get out there and raise practical awareness – not just Zoom or leaflets and forms and things like that – and also network between the teams,” he said.

Peer Worker Andrew Fleming at Parramatta.

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