After spending a couple of days in the area our Australia Day Ambassador, Allan Sparkes CV OAM VA, has vowed to come back this year to try and help improve the physiological health of the people of the Parkes Shire.
During his address at the official ceremony in Cooke Park, the Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of NSW said he and Deputy Mayor Barbara Newton had come up with a plan and a project.
“I will come back to this community and this shire and I’ll do whatever I can to help educate, particularly our men, our blokes, as to why you are not mentally well and what you can do individually to regain your mental health and get back your sense of worth and manage the adversity that you are facing or will face in the future,” Mr Sparkes said.
“It breaks my heart to see so many are Australians hurting. Particularly in rural and remote areas where there is little or no assistance to help those who are struggling with psychological health issues. And I think what can we possible do? How can we do more?”
Mr Sparkes, who has suffered from mental illnesses himself said he believes education is key.
“To suffer from mental illnesses is an experience that you would never wish upon your worst enemy,” he said.
“And those of us who do have a lived experience of mental illness know exactly what I’m talking about, what we need to do is we need to educate.
“We need to explain to people the process of the development of some of these mental illnesses particularly at times of adversity, particularly in farming communities where the adversity is never ending, there is no escape from it because what’s causing you to be so so chronically stressed, so depressed, so suicidal is around you 24 hours a day.
“I know we can do it. We as a community, we have to be courageous, we all have to be willing to care.”