beyondblue’s big blue bus will arrive in Queensland at the end of August for a 10-week tour as part of its National Roadshow.
Already 25,000km into its journey around Australia to tackle anxiety and depression at a grassroots level, the Roadshow will visit dozens of communities throughout Queensland’s 11 Medicare Local regions.
Among the first stops is the agricultural town of Kingaroy, where residents started a petition to bring the big blue bus to their community soon after the Roadshow was launched in Canberra in February.
Kaye Hibbs of local support group Pathway2Hope was behind the petition, which attracted more than 250 signatures.
“There are so many people suffering in silence. There are farmers out here who are losing everything and they need to know they’ve got the support of the community behind them,” she said.
“We need to help break the silence – that is what the beyondblue visit is about.”
beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said the demand for mental health information, support and services was high in every region the bus had visited.
“Whether we’re in capital cities, regional centres or the outback, this Roadshow is revealing the widespread impact of depression, anxiety and suicide on individuals and communities. People want practical information and support,” she said.
“We have been touched by the number of people sharing their experiences with us and I thank Kaye and the Kingaroy community for insisting we visit them. We know the community has faced factors that negatively impact on mental health, such drought, flood and financial stress.”
The big blue bus will attend the Nanango Markets on Saturday 6 September before heading to Kingaroy Memorial Park for a free lunchtime community barbecue. The Roadshow will then head to Barcaldine for the Westech Field Days on September 9 and 10.
Ms Harman urged people to attend a Roadshow event in their region, where they can chat to beyondblue staff in an informal environment, pick up free information about depression and anxiety, and find out about local services.
“Getting people in communities talking about mental health is an important first step in tackling anxiety, depression and suicide,” she said.