Breaking the stigma

BREAKING THE CYCLE: Peter Jones, Greg Smith, Jeremy Forbes, Stuart Allen and David Rowe at the HALT Save Your Bacon Breakfast for tradies.
BREAKING THE CYCLE: Peter Jones, Greg Smith, Jeremy Forbes, Stuart Allen and David Rowe at the HALT Save Your Bacon Breakfast for tradies.

Breaking the stigma surrounding suicide begins with the community. 

On Tuesday morning Master Builders Association of Ballarat held their second HALT Save Your Bacon Breakfast for tradies. 

HALT, which stands for Hope, Assistance, Local Tradies, was founded in 2013 and aims to get tradies talking about mental health and suicide. 

More than 60 Ballarat tradesmen attended the event at G Gay & Co Mitre 10 in Wendouree. 

It was aimed at providing every tradesperson present with information on mental health and where to get help if it is needed. 

Co-founder of HALT Jeremy Forbes said the community has to lead suicide prevention.

“If you want a reduction in suicide, it has to begin with the community and events like this are how it starts,” Mr Forbes said. “What works for HALT is when you have a whole of community approach.

“This occurs when organisations like the Master Builders Association of Ballarat take it upon themselves to organise events like this.”

“That’s how you make change, you raise awareness and you break the stigma.”

Representatives from Victoria Police and  Ballarat federal MP Catherine King also attended the event.  

Breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health in an industry renowned for its tough and macho culture is no easy feat.  Event organiser and Master Builders Association of Ballarat committee member Stuart Allen said events like the mental health brekky initiated had started the conversation.

“It’s about starting the dialogue and building the awareness of mental health issues,” Mr Allen said. “The seed has been planted and hopefully now it will continue to grow.” 

The event was held in response to the countless Ballarat tradesmen and women being crippled by depression and anxiety and some even turning to suicide. 

Mr Allen said talks were already underway to hold another four events next year, including one specifically for the partners of tradies.  Lifeline: 13 11 14 Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636