Casting awareness on mental health

By Cobram Courier

A group of farmers recently took part in a fishing event, which aimed to help men dealing with mental health issues.

Bayer’s Big Fish Challenge on Lake Mulwala on August 17 and 18 was organised alongside The Fly Program, a charity tackling mental health issues facing men in rural Australia.

The event gave the group a chance to escape the disruptions of everyday life and also casts awareness of the impact of depression, PTSD and suicide in men.

The Fly Program chief executive Matt Tripet led participants as they battled it out to catch the biggest fish for the weekend and he also provided short seminars of mental health issues.

Bayer has committed $25 000 to program and will donate $1 for every 1 cm of fish caught through the Big Fish Challenge to address men’s mental health.

Barooga-based farmer Brad Stillard said: ‘‘The Bayer Big Fish Challenge allowed me to broaden my fishing knowledge, meet new people keen on fishing, creating that bond and raise money for men’s mental health.

‘‘There are mental health issues out there that as men, we are reluctant to talk about, Bayer’s affiliation with The Fly Program creates an environment with guy’s who have a similar passion.

‘‘It’s not really spoken about, it’s hidden, so if there is a way to get the conversation started and the message that you are not alone out there, it’s extremely important.’’

AllSeederFresh Cobram farm manager Dean Hartley said: ‘‘When I heard about the Bayer Big Fish Challenge it took me two seconds to get on board.

To be able to go out, and fish for men’s mental health, it is easy to get around.

‘‘It’s great to have people in our communities that are able to facilitate this kind of thing.’’