Men’s Wellness Campaign comes to Elliston and Streaky Bay

The Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign will be making its way to Elliston and Streaky Bay from tomorrow.

Hosted by Mentally Fit EP, under the West Coast Youth and Community Support banner, the campaign started earlier this year in Wudinna as part of a tour of 10 Eyre Peninsula towns.

The campaign is a photographic exhibition consisting of 60 photographs of 30 Eyre Peninsula men captured by Eyre Peninsula photographer Robert Lang and aims to highlight men’s health.

Those photographed were interviewed about their thoughts on mental wellness and the resulting information matched with their photo.

Mentally Fit EP said it aimed to educate and inform men of the resources available and work at removing the stigma around talking about mental health issues prevalent among men.

The Elliston exhibition will be on display from Friday, August 24 until Wednesday, September 5 at the Elliston Visitor Centre.

The official opening, which happens to be closing night, takes place on Wednesday, September 5 at 6pm.

The exhibition will then move to Streaky Bay for the official opening on Thursday, September 6 at the Supper Room Art Gallery of the Streaky Bay Institute at 6pm – and will remain for two weeks.

Chief executive officer and founder of Mindfull Aus Matt Runnalls will be the guest speaker for the two openings.

Mr Runnalls has worked as a mental health advocate over a number of years, creating awareness, acceptance and education.

Having lived with mental illness, surviving suicide attempts and having lost friends to suicide dating back to when he was 12, Mr Runnalls uses his experiences to encourage others to feel comfortable to speak up and manage their well-being just as he continues to do.

He said his reason for starting Mindfull Aus was to teach people what he wished he had known growing up.

“I know if I had of been this knowledgeable about mental health and suicide now I could of potentially still be able to share laughs and memories with those mates I’ve lost,” Mr Runnalls said.

“I know personally my life would of been a lot different and now I have that opportunity to ensure the next generation doesn't walk into the unknown like I did.”

Mr Runnalls said having support was pivotal.

“It’s important that people recognise and take away from my journey that the internal feeling of guilt, shame and being a burden was just that, it wasn’t real, it was an unbearable emotional pain, a fog that disabled me in seeing things any differently,” he said.

“I am very fortunate that I have always had the support, love and care that every kid wishes of his family.”

The exhibitions are free to attend and open to the entire community.