MARR Mooditj Training students are hoping to change the stigma surrounding seeking help for mental health issues.
A group of 10 mature-aged mental health students are holding the mental health expo Change Da Shame at the Waterford Plaza from today until Friday.
Student Gloria Agale said she and other students wanted to remove any embarrassment of living with mental health issues.
“I think we all have some form of anxiety, not just mental health patients,” she said.
“Everyone wants to feel love and hope, and I want people living with mental health issues to feel like they can seek help.”
Ms Agale said she decided to study the mental health course after seeing mental health issues that stemmed from drugs and alcohol in her home town of Port Hedland.
“Whether it was young or old people, it was becoming an epidemic in the community,” she said.
“The course has been amazing because it’s equipped us with the tools to help our communities.”
Marr Mooditj Training mental health program developer and educator Tania O’Dea said the expo was her pet project.
“The idea was to introduce advocacy in the course and challenge the students to get the expo off the ground,” she said.
“The students were all keen and eager to do it, even if it was a big thing to do over four days from 9-to-5.”
Mrs O’Dea said the students had put a lot of effort into organising the expo by creating posters, T-shirts and working out the messages they wanted to share.
“The main message is to not be ashamed to seek mental health resources and to help each other,” she said.
“They will have a survey and they will be engaging the public as they seek to raise awareness about mental health.
“There will be gift bags, brochures and raffles for the public; they won’t just be trying to engage Aboriginal students.”
Marr Mooditj Training enrolments and course advisor Jane Fyfe said the students felt empowered by creating the expo.
“I’ve been helping them with publicity online on Facebook and Twitter to help get the message out there and the students have asked me send them posters through email so they can stick it up around the place,” she said.