Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : January 19, 2016 Edition Contents PAGE 22 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2016
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The play ‘Out Of The Blue’ which debuted in San Remo and was first performed by local actors is
hitting the road for a national tour. In 2014 the play was first performed locally by Anna Van Caem as
‘Sharon’, Michael Donohue as ‘Mick’ and Simon Furniss as ‘Johno’. In this scene, ‘Johno’ pours out his
heart about the seemingly insurmountable money, work and family relationship problems that have
been driving him to the brink. M354014.
RAISING awareness for mental health
inspired Grace Bannon to cycle over
2,000km across Victoria, reaching Inver-
loch on Tuesday as part of her Into The
Blue cycling journey.
The 27-year-old from Bendigo reached
one of her final stopovers at Inverloch and
enjoyed a rest day on Wednesday, after cy-
cling 170km from Bairnsdale.
She embarked on the final legs of her
journey and completed the ride on Satur-
day at Albert Park, 36 days after she set off
from the same destination.
The inspiring woman said mental health
awareness is close to her heart.
“I have family members with a mental
illness and teach a lot of kids who are un-
diagnosed with lots of mental health prob-
lems,” she said.
“I see a lot of the stigma associated with
mental health, and want to put a positive
spin on it.
“When people hear about mental health,
they often associate it with a negative.
“It’s close to home and I see the effects of
it and wanted people to know they’re not
alone and there’s hope.
“I wanted to get that message out there
Before the ride, Grace was a novice cy-
clist, and decided cycling would be the
best way to get the message out there in a
short amount of time.
Her journey began in Melbourne on
December 16 and went along the Great
Ocean Road to South Australia, back to
Mount Gambier towards Mildura and
along the NSW border before crossing
Mount Hotham and visiting Gippsland in
the past week.
Grace visited local pubs along the way,
speaking to patrons, handing out gifts and
promoting her positive message.
Although the ride has been tough at
times, Grace said the people in the towns
and stories have kept her going.
“There are seven suicides a day in Aus-
tralia; that’s a lot so it’s very close to home
for a lot of people,” she said.
“There hasn’t been one person who
hasn’t been supportive of what I’m doing
so that keeps me going up the hill.
“I think to myself ‘it’s just a hill, these
people battle with it day in day out, family
members, carers and so forth’.”
Grace set off from Inverloch on Thursday
towards her next destination, Poowong.
Readers seeking support and informa-
tion about suicide prevention can contact
Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Grace Bannon enjoyed a rest day in Inverloch on Wednesday as part of her
Into The Blue cycling journey, which has seen her cycle over 2,000km across
Victoria to raise awareness for mental health. rg010316
Inspiring ride for
IN 2013 Bass Coast Health
(BCH) in partnership with Men’s
Health and Wellbeing Alliance,
made up of community repre-
sentatives, consulted with men
in Bass Coast Shire to gather
information about their health
Some of the men had suffered
depression, while others were
unsure if they had or not.
Some men admitted they
didn’t understand what depres-
sion was and how to recognise
it when they or someone else
needed professional help.
As a mental health initiative,
Bass Coast Health (BCH) ac-
cessed funding from Bendigo
Bank and in partnership with
Men’s Health and Wellbeing Al-
liance proposed a project ‘Out
of the Blue’ , a theatre night to
engage local men to look at ways
men communicated about men-
tal health issues.
Local actors were employed
giving the play both ownership
and relevance to what was hap-
pening in their community;
raising the awareness was en-
hanced through running an in-
teractive workshop, enabling
men to identify the signs of de-
pression and open up dialogue
between local men regarding
mental health issues while also
building men’s confidence in
self-referring to health services.
The play was received with
much praise from within the
community, particularly from
its target audience.
It gave men the courage to
speak up about how they or a
friend may be feeling and the
opportunity to discuss issues
more openly on topics that pre-
viously had been an uncomfort-
able subject - including suicide
to each other and with others.
‘Out of the Blue’ met the over-
all goal of raising the awareness
of men through a workshop
which enabled men to identify
the signs of depression.
A number of men indicated
they had an increased knowl-
edge of depression and now felt
they could now seek help or as-
sist others to access services.
The first production of the
play saw instant identification
and an overwhelming reaction
suggesting the play was vital, es -
pecially in the Bass Coast Shire,
at a time when the community
was dealing with a number of
suicides (Contact Bass Coast
Health 5671 3209).
The BCH Community Develop-
ment Worker sought further fund-
ing from Bendigo Bank for two
more shows in Bass Coast Shire.
The theatre project surpassed
all expectations being very well
received by the community.
BCH’s Community Develop-
ment Worker and Project Work-
er, Gayle Mattsson was recently
approached by the script writer
of the play, Stig Wemyss, for a
discussion about taking the
play around Australia.
Since then professional actors
have been employed and ‘Out
of the Blue’ has become a road
show now touring Australia - re-
flecting the harshness of life in
The theme is relevant to men
The forum that follows the
play enables these issues to be
On all promotional material it
is stated that the road show is
based on the ‘Out of the Blue’
project by Bass Coast Health,
This is a real credit to all in-
‘Out Of The Blue’
now touring Australia
SURF rescue helicopters are patrolling
Victorian beaches daily to keep a look out
for sharks, rips and people in distress in
the water this summer.
The choppers patrol the state’s coastline
from Waratah Bay in South Gippsland to
Apollo Bay in south-western Victoria.
Minister for Emergency Services Jane
Garrett said the helicopter rescue service,
run by Life Saving Victoria, had already
completed 50 patrols along Victoria’s coast-
line this summer.
A group of highly trained crews operate
the two Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicop-
ters which scan the water for people in dis-
tress, boating accidents, rip currents and
marine life such as sharks.
Pilots can alert lifeguards on the ground
and sound sirens from the air if they spot
sharks swimming dangerously close to
public beaches. They can also support
search and rescue operations for missing
swimmers and boats, winch people to safe-
ty, and respond to distress signals sent by
fishermen and other people who find them-
selves in trouble on the water.
The rescue helicopters have responded
to 250 emergencies since the summer of
2009-10, including five incidents in the first
week of 2016 alone.
Patrols are running daily during the peak
summer period – from Christmas Eve un-
til Australia Day - when thousands of holi-
daymakers head to Victoria’s beaches and
Life Saving Victoria operates the service
on weekends and public holidays from
mid-November until Easter.
New choppers to get to the beaches
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