Nikki Simos and Roslyn Stewart welcome new volunteers to the Mitchell Suicide Prevention Network.

By Steph McNicol

MITCHELL Suicide Prevention Network committee members Nikki Simos and Roslyn Stewart are calling on passionate mental health advocates to join their team.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus and with the impacts of external factors, the committee has significantly decreased in members and become a ‘skeleton’ of what it was.

“A lot of our members are either unwell or have issues going on so they have had to step back,” Ms Stewart said.

Ms Simos said being a volunteer was more than just preventing suicide, and it was also about providing support and connection to members of the community.

“We would like volunteers to support our committee and work, but also to support each other to grow and experience some of the wonderful things that come about from the program as a volunteer for the MSPN,” she said.

“What’s really good is, obviously we’ve got people with real experiences and they can share their testimonies, obviously myself, Roslyn, and I’m sure there are others out there.”

Ms Simos said she, as part of the committee and a member of Wallan Future Hub, had been able to use social media during the pandemic to continue conversation and connection in the community.

“One thing I’m doing is the ‘Real Time, Real Topics’ show on Wednesday nights which includes all relevant topics, we started it through COVID-19 – myself and youth mentor Lucy,” she said.

“The hub was buzzing before COVID-19, people coming and going, people had that connection and were able to reach out about whatever they wanted.

“Because we had this program already implemented prior to that, we kept it going, but instead of streaming it through the hub I did it on my Mind Ahead Facebook page.”

The program facilitator said they had been able to support people who were isolated at home through their range of topics covered in the online videos.

“We’ve been able to cover things like isolation, mental health, suicide prevention, how to keep safe and healthy, and who to reach out to,” Ms Simos said.

“One of the services we were doing through the Mitchell Suicide Prevention Network was posting things on the Facebook page because things were changing so quickly in the beginning of COVID-19.

“Now we’ve got guests coming on and people can ask questions and we can get the conversation going.”

People interested in joining the team and volunteering to support the community are welcome to contact Nikki Simos and Roslyn Stewart on yourmindahead@gmail.com or tune in to ‘Real Time, Real Topics’ at http://www.facebook.com/YourMindAhead on Wednesdays at 9pm.

Ms Simos is also available by phone on 0438 587 425.

If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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