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Community Approaches to Mental Health

Jeremy Forbes' Keynote on Suicide Tackles Possible Solutions

— June 6, 2018 — Keynote Trends
Jeremy Forbes' keynote on suicide is delivered in a powerful manner that advocates for respect, support and proactiveness. The speaker is a "tradie" (an Australian slang for tradesperson). He relates a personal story about a fellow colleague, who by committing suicide made Forbes realize that tradie culture prevented individuals from talking openly about their mental health. With this gap in mind, Jeremy Forbes co-founds HALT (Hope Assistance Local Tradies) and undertakes a community approach for raising awareness of mental health and providing a safe space for people to have conversations about it.

During the keynote on suicide, the launch of HALT is described. With no money to spend, Forbes hosted the first awareness-raising event in Castlemaine with the assistance of local businesses that provided food, beverages and support. Anticipating that tradie culture will halt people from coming to his event, Forbes customized the meeting with things that he knew would appeal to his colleagues — from the perfect tradie snack, which is egg and bacon rolls, to the ideal tradie location in the timber yard of a hardware store. During the event, HALT provided guests with bags of information with local and national support services, such as Lifeline, and opened a path of communication.

After the success of the first happening, HALT has continued to gather and strengthen the community with over 150 events in over four states — each one, executed with very little funding.