Newcastle stays connected with mental health

Published on MIDN Samuel Hicks (author and photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Topic(s): Mental Health

Newcastle’s crew competes at Tug-O-War. (photo: MIDN Samuel Hicks)
Newcastle’s crew competes at Tug-O-War.

HMAS Newcastle’s recent visit to HMAS Stirling was an opportunity for ship's company to discuss the importance of good mental health to maintain the ability to fight and win at sea on a dedicated Mental Health Day.
The crew received in-depth briefs, focusing on suicide awareness, rehabilitation and mental health issues specific to men and to women. Guest speakers included health professionals and those with personal experience who were able to find coping strategies and a pathway back to health.
Commanding Officer of Newcastle, Commander Dominic MacNamara said it was important to take a break and learn more about staying connected and where to seek assistance.
"The presentations were informative and I believe everyone was able to take away helpful information,” he said.
“Mental illness does not discriminate and it is vital that each one of us is aware of how we can best look after ourselves.”
The presentations highlighted the importance of communication with family, friends, colleagues and the wider community, and how maintaining a strong connection can be advantageous to mental health.
Participant Midshipman Morgan Groves was hopeful that initiatives such as ADF Mental Health Day could reach those in need.
“Presentations such as these are a constant reminder of the steps someone can take to ensure the safety of themselves and others,” he said.
“Good mental health is such an important thing, it doesn’t take any effort at all to make sure your mates are okay, and if they aren’t, you’re more than willing to help out to get them back on their feet.”
Following the presentations, the ship’s company took to the sporting fields to play touch football, European handball, beach volleyball and challenge each other to a tug-o-war to remind each other of the links between physical and mental health.
In the spirit of maintaining and building connections Newcastle’s Mental Health Day was finished with a barbeque and seafood lunch.
ADF Mental Health day coincided with World Mental Health Day on 10 October, and Royal Australian Navy units across the Fleet have been undertaking activities to focus on wellbeing throughout October.