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Mental Health is about Wellness rather than Illness


“Mental Health” It’s an expression we use every day and is frequently misunderstood.

‘Mental health’ is often used as a substitute for mental health conditions – such as depression, and anxiety, However, according to the World Health Organisation, “mental health” is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

The subject of Mental illness, less than two decades ago, was only talked about in hushed tones. Now, it is now openly discussed and acknowledged, with services, support groups, websites available 24/7 to provide support and or information. It may not be a solution for those suffering with a severe mental illness; however, for the majority of the one in four suffering with a mental health condition it is a positive step forward, in addressing the causes and effects.

Having a Mental health condition is no longer thought of as being something for which you should be institutionalised, or god forbid, secluded in a remote back room, but instead recognised as something, that each and every one of us will likely experience at some time during our lives.

With the stresses that come with living life; from school, work, home and even parenting, it is unrealistic to think that we are all able to keep it together, all of the time.

It’s ok to have a “down/flat day” – it may just mean you need a chance to recharge or refocus. If it goes on for longer, then acknowledging that you are “not ok” is the first step to seeking out the help you need.

Building on your “Mental Health” skills and resilience, each time you struggle, will see you through most of what life will throw at you.

For more information on Mental Health Beyond Blue PH: 1300 22 4636
Support. Advice. Action

Our recent Healthy People – Healthy Connected Communities Program Day gave the participants the opportunity to explore a variety of topics which all effect our local communities; health Services, health prevention, mental health and suicide prevention to name a few. Thanks to our speakers – Lynda Smith; Population Health Coordinator, South West Primary Care Partnership, 2013 Alumni, Amy Silvester; Glenelg Suicide Prevention Network, Fred Nittsjo; Team Leader, South West Healthcare Mental Health Services.


Challenging the Status Quo in Education


“If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you always got.”

It’s a quote that has been attributed to a number of people including Henry Ford, and was used by Damian Farley, WAVE School Coordinator, during the Skilling our Region for the Future Program Day. Over the course of the day, LGSC participants gained insight into a number of complex issues relating to education in the region, including disadvantage and the changing workplace. Through discussion of these issues it became apparent that the way in which we educate our young people must evolve, to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the rapidly changing world in which they will live and work.

Our speakers presented the confronting reality of disadvantage in the region, as well as the importance of engaging with young people at risk of leaving the education system. The fact that 700 young people between the ages of 13 and 17 years in south-west Victoria are not in education or training, with approx. 250 of them in the Warrnambool area, is startling. Whilst there are skilled educators providing opportunities for disadvantaged young people to remain engaged, the broader issue of increasing the number of young people attaining year 12 or equivalent remains a challenge. While Beyond the Bell is undertaking initiatives to improve the region’s year 12 attainment rate, perhaps there is an opportunity for further change within the education sector at a policy level.

There is no doubt the issue of education is extremely complex. However, it is clear that the education system must evolve to keep students engaged and equipped with the skills for a rapidly changing future.

An example of change is Woolsthorpe Primary School where a growth mindset is encouraged alongside the development of problem solving skills through their Discovery Learning process keeping students engaged and preparing them for a fast changing world. This engaging process encourages students to identify what they want to learn and build skills as they undertake projects delivering real education outcomes that are student centered.

Thanks to our speakers – Ken Radley, Senior Education Consultant, Damian Farley, WAVE School Coordinator, Simon Perry, Principal at Woolsthorpe Primary School, Janette Brown, Executive Manager Education and Leigh Roberts, Senior Projects Manager Strategic Innovation and Educational Projects, from South West TAFE


The Economy Drives Our Region


It was discovered that as a leader anywhere, it is vital that you understand the important economic drivers of the community you exist in.

These drivers or levers have an intricate connection between financial and economic sustainability within the region. Change one lever and expect changes to happen to another.

The Economy Drives Our Region program day was opened by Dr Greg Walsh and his opening line, “Leaders are great detectors of rubbish and need to be shrouded in evidence and science”, set the tone for the day. Greg talked about the importance of a positive image from the region, to encourage relocation of the population to the region.

Sarah Brebner from RDV was full of fascinating facts, most importantly was the modelling showing the economic levers in play in our region; and that we need to capitalise on our regions assets be them physical, natural, human or built.

From here we moved into a specific focus on dairy. Charlie McElhone from Dairy Australia, enlightened us about the vast influence dairy has in the Great South Coast. A thought-provoking discussion was the highlight around the dairy price fiasco of 2016. LGSC participants Lauren and Peter were a great value to enrich the discussion, given their history in the industry.

The day concluded at Solaris Farms with farm owner, manager and LGSC Alumni; Brendan Rea. Brendan took us on a fascinating tour of his family dairy farm. For many it was their first time on a dairy of this magnitude.

Thank you to our presenters; Dr Greg Walsh, Director VLE Pty Ltd, Chairman of Champions of the Bush, Director of Great Ocean Road Beef and co-owner of two dairy farms. Sarah Brebner, Manager of Regional Economic Policy, Regional Development Victoria. Charlie McElhone, Group Manager Trade and Industry Strategy, Dairy Australia. Brendan Rea, Farm Manager, Leadership Great South Coast Alumni 2015


Climate Change – Will you make the pledge?


What are our perceptions of climate change? Did you know that Victorians take climate change very seriously? In fact, over 91% of Victorians accept some level of causality for climate change, 30% rate climate change in the top three issues facing our state, 78% think climate change is an issue that requires urgent action right now and 73% of people prefer to buy from businesses that show they care about climate change.

On Thursday the 17th of May 2018, the 2018 LGSC group had their eyes opened to the reality of what we are facing in a challenging world moving forward. We also got to witness what it takes, or what we can do to help make a difference in this space and leave our positive footprint on the world.
Start small and think big. That is probably the theme a lot of us took out of the day and you can too! What does that mean? What can we do? Plenty. Little things that we all take for granted every single day.

Below are just a few examples of what you can do better. Although they may seem small, if everybody did this it would go a long way to lowering our greenhouse emissions substantially.

– Avoid buying food wrapped in excess packaging
– Buy locally grown, seasonal produce
– Grow your own
– Turn leftovers into meals
– Plan your meals, make a shopping list and buy only what you need

– Try and have car free days. Walk, cycle or use public transport where available.
– Carpool
– Use efficient driving techniques
– Before buying a new vehicle consider the fuel efficiency

Waste Reduction:
– Reduce packaging waste
– Recycle garden waste
– Compost garden and food waste
– Donate household items and clothing to not for profit groups (op shops)
– Reuse items and products as many times as possible
– Reduce food waste by planning meals and turning leftovers into new meals

As you can see in the above examples, these are just a few of the little things that we as leaders can both push and do. Most of us have children, and will possibly have grandchildren and it’s very important that we leave this world in the best possible condition as we’ve had the opportunity to live in.

For your chance to make an impact or contribute, I suggest you take the Take2 pledge to do your bit. Be accountable. Go to www.take2.vic.gov.au and let’s start small and think big.

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