YOUR STORY: Give a Shout! for mental health

THE mission of the Shout group is to create a community that values all levels of ability and different ways of seeing the world.

The Shout group was started in February 2014 by Cherie McGregor of the Wide Bay Integrated Mental Health Alcohol and other Drug Services in Bundaberg.

As the community consultant for the WBIMHAODS and having a lived experience, Ms McGregor said she saw the need in Bundaberg for an advocacy group and a voice for the consumer/clients of the mental health services and brought in consumers and staff of service providers to hold meetings and lay the foundation of the group.

Through the participation of consumer/clients, carers, family members, friends, partners as well as service providers, we aim to improve how services are delivered and how to better target the resources available and thus maximise the benefits for everyone.

This will be achieved through our regular monthly meetings held at the Take the Plunge Community Café located at 7/17 Electra St.

These meetings are held on the third Friday of each month from 9.30-11.30am and new members are welcome.

On the first Tuesday of each month, myself and two other members of the Shout group meet with three of the executive staff from the Bundaberg Mental Health Unit to discuss any news that members wish to raise with the MHU and for the MHU to maintain a conduit with our group as to new developments.

We also aim to reduce the amount of stigma that is attached automatically to anyone with a mental illness through participation in community run events

We have gone through teething problems and, no doubt as we continue, we will have more bumps in the road, but, as the secretary for SHOUT almost from the beginning, we have a dedicated core group who will meet these challenges and, by working together as a cohesive group, we will grow beyond our imaginings.

The aim of the Shout group is to be the voice for all consumers of the mental health services in the Wide Bay region, whether they be government or third party providers.

By consumers, we mean clients, carers, family members, friends, partner of a client and any member of the community interested in mental health practices in the region.

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