Astrophysicist, author and former The Bachelor star Dr Matt Agnew has partnered with Beyond Blue to encourage people to share a meal, start a conversation and reduce the stigma around mental health. Agnew is an ambassador for Beyond Blue’s Big Blue Table which runs throughout October – Mental Health Month – to support those facing anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
The popular personality is spreading the word about the fundraising campaign for the Beyond Blue Support Service. All monies raised go to the Support Service, which provides free 24/7 counselling, advice and referrals for those in need via phone, web chat and email.
More than 600 people use the service every day. During October, people are encouraged to host a meal and create a safe environment where friends, family and colleagues can talk about mental health.
Having been open about his own mental health, Dr Agnew said there was no shame in having open, honest discussions about mental health conditions. “The power of purely talking can’t be overstated – creating a safe space where people can express how they truly feel can be potentially lifesaving,” he said. “Nearly half of all people in Australia will experience a mental health condition during our
lives, so it’s important no one feels they have to deal with it alone.”
Big Blue Table events can take place anywhere: at your home, in the workplace, in a park or sports club. Prepare a picnic, organise a morning tea or cook a roast for dinner. The first 4,000 hosts to register receive a free jam-packed host kit, containing all the information and decorations needed to create a culinary and fundraising success. Included in the host kit are conversation starters featuring fun ‘getting to know you’ questions as well as mental wellbeing topics.
“By making mental health an everyday topic that you speak about over a meal can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness,” said Agnew. “If being involved in Big Blue Table helps more people to speak up when they need help or feel more comfortable offering support when they see a friend, colleague or family member they think may not be themselves is, that is a great result.”
Beyond Blue Lead Clinical Adviser Dr Grant Blashki said the past few years have tested the mental health of many people, so, it is even more important to talk about the issue. “We know starting a discussion about mental health can be uncomfortable, so we have
created a free host kit, including ice breakers and tips to help get the conversation flowing,” he said.
Last year’s event raised over $570,000, and it’s hoped this year the figure will be eclipsed. “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,” said Dr Blashki. “Beyond Blue is always available if you’re seeking support for your own mental health or supporting someone going through a tough time.”
Matt joins the existing stable of Big Blue Table ambassadors Julie Goodwin and Nat’s What I Reckon to promote the initiative.
To find out more about the initiative and register to host your Big Blue Table event, visit bigbluetable.com.au.
Big Blue Table is proudly supported by Premier Partner Australia Post.