Mental health tackled head-on

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
“Michael” with a version of a portrait of his depressed mental state.
Camera Icon“Michael” with a version of a portrait of his depressed mental state. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian

The WA Primary Health Alliance has taken an unusual approach to educating people about depression and suicide by commissioning four video documentaries.

Each video features a depressed person, and an artist who paints a “portrait” based on the person’s description of their depression and a photograph.

The result is revealed on camera when the two meet.

Geraldton man Michael, who does not wish his surname to be used, said he was speechless when he first saw his psychological portrait resembling a rhinoceros painted by Mark Welsh.

Michael’s own eyes peer out from the darkness within the animal’s outline.

“That is the jumble that goes through your mind,” Michael said.

“The whole purpose of this exercise is to let people know that depression takes different forms.

“To try and seek help as soon as possible, to watch out for the other people and to definitely keep an eye on the youth of today.

“The sooner people get help, the more chance they have of healing.”

It is hoped the videos will help stimulate better public awareness of the condition.

Organisers say depression is a common, at times severe, and often life-threatening mental health disorder and is a major risk factor to suicide.

The campaign forms part of the Australian Government-funded National Suicide Prevention Trial, which aims to improve the current evidence of effective suicide prevention strategy at a local level for at-risk population groups.

If you need help contact:

Lifeline 131 114 (Live Chat online 4pm-9pm AWST)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

MensLine Australia 1300 789 978

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