Think Mental Health
Following the successful 25-year-long promotion of the SunSmart message through the Slip, Slop, Slap campaign, we are pleased to see the positive behavioural changes among our Surf School participants and members. However, we acknowledge the unfortunate rise in death by suicide within our surfing community and have redirected our health promotion message to focus on ‘Think Mental Health’, resulting in Surfing WA and Healthway joining forces to champion mental health and wellbeing in the surfing community.
The ‘Think Mental Health’ education campaign is part of a comprehensive approach in Western Australia, that aims to build mental health and wellbeing, and reduce mental health issues, with a view to reducing Western Australia’s suicide rate.
Our campaign has been divided into two phases:
Phase 1: Community Awareness
In this phase, the focus is on increasing awareness of positive mental health and wellbeing practices amongst boardrider clubs and their members. Surfing WA and Healthway will work together to implement opportunities for mental health awareness, including conducting workshops and incorporating the ‘Think Mental Health’ campaign.
To kick off the campaign, Surfing WA collaborated with Healthway and the World Surf League (WSL), during the 2023 Margaret River Pro to host a workshop for the Presidents and committee members of WA Boardrider clubs. The workshop featured Filipe Toledo as an ambassador, who shared his insights and experiences.
Phase 2: Community Capacity Building
In the second phase, the emphasis shifts to building mental health capacity within Surfing WA networks. Community education and training will be provided to interested members through targeted events, activations, and workshops.
In addition, Surfing WA has developed 6 key messages as a way to promote mental health support and raise awareness:
- “Look After Your Mates“: Emphasizing the importance of caring for and supporting friends, particularly during difficult times.
- “Talking and Listening are Powerful“: Highlighting that anyone can initiate a conversation about mental health and that simply being there for someone can make a difference.
- “Reach out if things get too rough“: Encouraging individuals to seek help and support when facing challenging situations.
- “Mental health challenges can affect anyone“: Aiming to reduce stigma and promote understanding and compassion towards those experiencing mental health issues.
- “Engage in relaxation“: Emphasizing the importance of self-care and stress reduction through activities like meditation and enjoyable pursuits.
- “Maintain connection with something you love“: Reminding individuals to prioritize their hobbies and interests to find relaxation and fulfillment.
To promote these key messages, Surfing WA encourages actions such as looking for warning signs, talking and listening to others in a comfortable environment, reaching out for help and support, reducing stigma around mental health, and engaging in relaxation activities. The key messages emphasise the importance of maintaining connections with loved ones and spending time in a natural environment, particularly the ocean and waves, which can provide relaxation and rejuvenation.
Surfing WA will collaborate with professional mental health organisations, local authorities and community leaders to develop and implement comprehensive strategies for mental health promotion, awareness, and support within the surfing community.
Where to get further help?
URGENT MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE
If you feel someone is at an immediate risk, or is in a life-threatening situation, call triple zero 000.
Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)
If you or someone you know needs mental health support or would like to talk with someone that can help, contact the 24-hour telephone service, call:
- 1300 788 (Metro)
- 1301 1800 676 822 (Peel)
- 1800 552 002 (RuralLink)
Free online and telephone support for anyone feeling anxious or depressed.
1300 224 636
Support for anyone in a crisis situation.
13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service
Telephone, online and video counselling for people 15 and over. Professional support for anyone who is: feeling suicidal, worried about someone else or who has lost someone to suicide.
1300 659 467
Alcohol and Drug Support Line
Confidential telephone counselling, information and referral services for anyone seeking help for their own or another person’s alcohol or drug use.
9442 5000 (Metro) or 1800 198 024 (Country)
Supports men and boys dealing with family and relationship concerns.
1300 789 978
Please note: This brief guide does not capture all sources of information available. To find services near you, visit www.myservices.org.au which provides information about community and private organisations who provide local mental health and alcohol and other drug services within Western Australia. Visit www.thinkmentalhealth.com.au or www.mhc.wa.gov.au for more information.