Meeting of the Healthy Minds

A MEETING will be held today to discuss the future direction of the Healthy Minds Network in Swan Hill.

The gathering will take place at the Town Hall Cafeteria at 3pm and will act as a "brainstorm" for the organisation, according to the network's committee members.

Swan Hill Rural City Councillor David Quayle, one of the founders of the network, described it as an important meeting to discuss the "future direction of the organisation".

"The main functions of the Healthy Minds Network are to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce the stigma attached to it and provide information to the community," Cr Quayle said.

"We've been running it for nine years now."

He added that prior to the network's existence, suicide rates in the Swan Hill municipality had been dangerously high.

Network committee member Teresa O'Brien said the group had found success in past programs, getting health service phone numbers on stickers, directories and in the media.

"The recognition and services available to people have increased since we started the program," Ms O'Brien said.

"We want mental health to be on the agenda for everything."

Ms O'Brien invited any and all people concerned about mental health to attend the meeting.

Last month, at the Healthy Minds' annual general meeting, the network threw their support behind the Black Dog Ride, an event which involves motorcyclists from across the country trekking to Alice Springs.

Victoria Black Dog Ride leader Ric Raftis said the purpose of the ride was promote awareness of depression, suicide and mental health issues in general.

"Particularly [the ride's purpose] is to get blokes talking," Mr Raftis said.

"Men will talk about football but they won't talk about their feelings."

Cr Quayle said the Healthy Minds Network would be encouraging locals to attend the presentation given by the Black Dog Riders.

Swan Hill will play host to the Black Dog Ride motorcyclists on August 19 this year.

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