In October 2015 Dylan Lewis sent a call to the community, to join him and the Brahmans Football Team in helping their mates to build their skills to help a mate who might be at risk of suicide.
Dylan sent out this call in response to the terribly sad loss of team member earlier that year and to the growing concern for far to many of our young people, and adults, who end their lives through suicide.
The community did respond and Dylan began the journey, with the support of community members, sporting members, businesses and organisations, to build the skills of our community to stop suicide. The community were inspired by Dylan and his personal story shared without hesitation, highlighting how first and foremost it is mates that help mates, and its mates that are there in a person’s greatest hour of need, and mates who can make the difference.
Through the generous giving of the community, both in money and volunteer hours, Dylan led a campaign to create a Facebook page, reaching over 1,600 people in Katherine and across Australia, offering information and connectivity to services. Business came forward to help create a logo, community members voting to decide on the best caps and stubby holders sharing the NT Crisis Line number, Dylan speaking closely with the Department to ensure the service would be responsive.
Dylan worked tirelessly and searched broadly to try out training such as Safe Talk, ASSIST and Mental Health First Aid to understand how this training might help the community and how community people might be able to access according to their needs – time mostly. Then once Dylan had a true understanding of the training he went about building a team who would bring training to the community free of charge.
Australian Red Cross and Katherine West Health Board, inspired by Dylan’s efforts and the story of Mental Mates, provided trained Volunteers able to deliver Aboriginal and Standard Mental Health First Aid Training, Wesley Mission, the Camels and Katherine Businesses put forward money to help promote these efforts, and YMCA paid to have staff trained to deliver Safe Talk.
As a result, during the period Jan to Dec 2016 more than 275+ people in the Katherine Region, genuine community residents, received training in how to respond and support someone who was at risk of suicide. MHFA was delivered at Red Cross every Monday night over several months, 5:00pm – 9:00pm. Promoted through Mental Mates the community came in droves, they wanted help prevent suicide and were willing to put in the time.
Dylan Lewis and the Story of Mental Mates is a story of our community, yet again rolling up their sleeves and doing what needed to be done, to help a mate.