Having fun for a healthy cause

Activities and events at HMAS Stirling during WA’s Mental Health Week aimed to raise awareness, reduce stigma and allow personnel to take some time away from the workplace.

CAPTIONThe RAN Band-WA performs at the Submarine Training and Systems Centre Mental Health Week barbecue at HMAS Stirling. Story by Richard Wilkins. Photos by Able Seaman Rikki-Lea Phillips.

The annual initiative, hosted by Training Authority – Submarines (TA-SM), is a collaboration between Navy and ASC.

It aligns with World Mental Health Day on October 10, and aims to promote discussion and open dialogue around mental health issues.

The week’s activities began on October 9 with a number of presentations, including by Head of Submarine Warfare Training Commander Justin Cloney.

“The Defence-wide initiative for positive mental health recognition and engagement is one that TA-SM is proud to support through our Mental Health Week activities,” Commander Cloney said.

“The importance of enhancing Defence capability through engagement, consultancy and a best-practice approach to mental health and well-being initiatives, remains a key aspect of training our future sailors and officers.”

As the week went on, TA-SM staff and trainees participated in the popular fun run and walk to the Stirling blue tree.

Established in 2020, the tree is an important symbol of mental health awareness and is one of many across the country, representing a national initiative to promote positive mental health, reduce stigma and work towards prevention and early intervention.

CAPTIONPersonnel enjoy a mid-week barbecue lunch.

Staff and trainees enjoyed a mid-week barbecue lunch, entertainment from the RAN Band and a number of information stalls in the Submarine Training and Systems Centre courtyard, followed by a yoga session on the Rockingham foreshore the next day.

The week’s events wrapped up on October 13, with a barbecue breakfast, TA-SM volleyball and a tug-o-war.

Event organiser and TA-SM work health and safety co-ordinator Chief Petty Officer Maryanne Mills said the events were well received by the submarine community.

“Our annual Mental Health Week was a great success and it was wonderful to see so many people from across HMAS Stirling getting involved and enjoying the events and activities on offer,” Chief Petty Officer Mills said.

“Thank you to everyone who helped make this week possible and to all the staff and personnel who got involved with a spirit of positivity and fun.

“I hope it helped raise awareness of support services available and decrease the stigma around mental health issues.”


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