Day To Day Living Program coordinator Cindi Rees, support worker Ray Whalan and participant Ian Painter take part in a day to day program for people affected by mental illness. Photo Angela Lewis / The Morning Bulletin
Day To Day Living Program coordinator Cindi Rees, support worker Ray Whalan and participant Ian Painter take part in a day to day program for people affected by mental illness. Photo Angela Lewis / The Morning Bulletin Angela Lewis ROK

Wellness festival to highlight how to lift the black cloud

SOMETIMES mental illness can feel like a big, black cloud hanging over you.

But today, that cloud will be raining lollies.

In a symbolic gesture, anyone who attends the Rockhampton Community Wellness Festival will have the chance to whack a cloud-shaped piñata.

Cindi Rees, co-ordinator of the local Day to Day Living Program, said the event was all about raising awareness of mental health. It is just one of a number that will be held across the region this week to celebrate Mental Health Week.

Cindi said they run daily activities at their Albert St centre for people with mental health issues who just want to get out of the house and do something.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people with mental illness don't work or find it very difficult to find work for a variety of reasons," she said.

"If it weren't for the centre, these people would sit at home all day staring at the walls. They don't have the money to go out."

Cindi said they offer everything from art classes, to leather workshops and jewellery making.

She said they can also provide transport and help people who are interested in doing a TAFE course or volunteering.

"Mental health often isn't talked about and is shied away from," she said.

"We're trying to break that stigma. It's a part of the experience of life and almost everyone goes through it."

Festival details

The festival kicks off with a Wellness Walk at the Fitzroy Riverbank opposite Custom House at 11am.

There will be a barbecue lunch following, as well as a local art exhibition and live music.

Market and information stalls will be set up at the Denham St Mall until 3pm.



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