Sad boy

By Devonport Chaplaincy CEO Andrew Hillier

Despite dodging the latest COVID-19 bullet that has left so many in our nation in extended lockdowns, Tasmania's North West Coast is facing significant and insidious mental health challenges.

Our region has seen a tragic and unacceptable increase in suicides, with increases of up to 38% over a 12-month period.

There are far too many young people, for so many reasons, struggling with the impacts of feeling alone and disconnected.

Many millions of dollars have been identified as being needed to solve the problem. Yes, our region needs more dedicated mental health services. At the same time, though, I believe most importantly, every Tasmanian has a role to play.

We each must ensure we have the margin for those around us. Time to listen. Space to care for the one in front of us and for those who are marginalised and disconnected.

There are many local examples of how mentoring has helped to make life better for many young people across our region. Just the other day a local school principal spoke with much emotion to a group of us about the value of a mentor's input to the life of a young person.

Mentoring works

Over several years he had seen the dramatic change in a young person who was now experiencing a positive, hope-filled life, contributing to others and thriving academically. All because someone took the time to care.

For these most important reasons, our team is committed to fulfilling our mission of “Making life better, one relationship at a time.” Our team of chaplains and hundreds of volunteers serve in this across our region supporting young people and their families through tough times.

There are opportunities right now for you to be involved as a community mentor. Our next free mentor training is on Saturday, September 18, from 9am to 3pm at the Devonport Chaplaincy office, 130 William Street. To find out more, call us on 6417 3175 or complete this short expression of interest.

The Devonport Chaplaincy team can also provide mental health first aid training in your workplace or connect you individually into a course that will equip you with vital skills and a better understanding of mental health, both personally and for those around you.

Contact us to get involved as Oldaker Christian Church has done, with more than 20 church members doing our mental health first aid course.

Remember: “You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it,” Charles Buxton.