Beyond Blue is encouraging people to share a meal and start a conversation around mental health to support those impacted by anxiety, depression, and suicide. The new initiative, Big Blue Table, takes place from 1 – 8 October, to kick off the first week of Mental Health Month.
With aim to raise funds for the Beyond Blue Support Service, the fundraising challenge was created as a direct response to the eighteen per cent increase in support service contacts that Beyond Blue registered in 2021.
Throughout the initiative, people are encouraged to host a meal and talk to friends and family about mental health. All money raised will go towards bolstering the Beyond Blue Support Service, a resource which offers free round-the-clock counselling via phone, webchat and email.
Beyond Blue Lead Clinical Adviser Dr Grant Blashki said that raising awareness for people affected by mental health conditions can be as simple as starting a conversation during a meal.
“Talking to people is one of the most powerful tools we have to raise awareness and every conversation can make a difference,” said Dr Blashki.
“Forty-five per cent of people in Australia have experienced mental health conditions in their lifetime, however, many don’t seek support and we need your help to make a change.
“Stigma about mental health conditions often prevent people from seeking support. The Big Blue Table initiative encourages people to talk openly about their mental health, reducing stigma in the process.”
Events can take place around any meal, including brunch or afternoon tea, in any setting such as at home, the workplace or local sporting club.
Whether it is a lunch at the office, hosting a picnic in the park with some friends or inviting family over for a barbecue dinner, each Big Blue Table can lead to important conversations.
During the event, attendees use conversation starters, provided to the host when they register, which include fun ‘getting to know you’ themes as well as mental wellbeing topics.
Hosting a Big Blue Table event is easy – register online at bigbluetable.com.au, receive a free host kit, invite your guests, and fight the stigma in a relaxed environment, while raising much needed funds for the Beyond Blue Support Service.
“We know starting a discussion about mental health can be challenging, so we have created a free Host Kit, including conversation starters, to help encourage open dialogue,” Dr Blashki added.
“Every dollar raised from your Big Blue Table will go towards the Beyond Blue Support Service, so counsellors can provide immediate advice, support, and referrals 24/7 at no cost to users.
“Beyond Blue is always available if you’re seeking support for your own mental health or supporting someone going through a tough time.”
This year, Big Blue Table is working with ambassadors including MasterChef winner and celebrity chef Julie Goodwin, and comedian, author and celebrity cook, Nat’s What I Reckon, who will be spreading the word about the new mental health campaign.