IMPROVING awareness of mental health services will be the focus of a community well-being forum in Bacchus Marsh on Wednesday night.
With mental health related call outs increasing for police, Bacchus Marsh Sergeant Glenn Saw and Senior Constable Mauricio Gonzalez organised the free event to improve outcomes for the community.
"Mental health is an issue that impacts everyone," Sergeant Saw said.
"Community safety is our priority and it is important that we engage with stakeholders and members of our community to discuss concerns and work together to achieve the best outcomes."
The purpose of the night is for police, stakeholders and community members to explore the concerns surrounding mental health in the region as well as to provide information about available services to the community to support those who are struggling - from coping with anxiety and depression to preventing suicide.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report earlier this year highlighted that 19 suicides occurred in Moorabool between 2013-17 while in Ballarat the suicide rate was revealed to be 30 per cent higher than the state average with 60 male suicides recorded in the same time period.
Suicide has a ripple effect across the community, from the person's family and friends to the first responders such as police and paramedics.
The event will be opened by Moorabool Local Area Commander Acting Inspector Ben Young, while four speakers involved in the space will speak about mental health and educate people about available health services.
Acting Inspector Young said Victoria Police was working with partner agencies in an attempt to reduce the impact of mental illness on the community, as prevention and support are an important part of policing.
"Community safety and well-being is influenced by many factors and mental health is one that is increasing significantly," he said.
"We know it has a major impact across our community and we know that the police attending mental health incidents is increasing at a high rate."
Acting Inspector Young said through promoting pathways to engagement with mental health services early, people would be less likely to reach a crisis point where police were called to intervene.
"The issue for many people who have limited experience when dealing with a mental health concern is not knowing where to go for support and help. We want to work with our stakeholders to help people find solutions to problems when it is needed," he said.
We know through early intervention that the best outcomes are achieved so it is important that all of us work as a community to support those who need it.Acting Inspector Ben Young
A number of professionals will discuss the issue of mental health on the night.
Beyond Blue's Andrew Rogers will speak about his experiences with mental illness and how the community supported him through it, while Headspace youth worker Jesse Parker will explain the organisation and inform attendees about the programs they run.
Local doctor Dr Ravin Sadhai will speak about health and well-being in the area while psychologist Dr Fabian Elzo will speak about where people can seek assistance for mental health issues.
The event will be hosted from 7-9pm on Wednesday, November 20, at the Bacchus Marsh Public Hall at 207 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh.
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14. Help is also available via Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
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