Keeping people healthy in regional areas is often a challenge.
You have to fight for access to specialist services, face waiting lists and doctor shortages.
For those experiencing ill-health, the community fulfills a vital role.
They often volunteer to raise money for services, deliver meals, form groups, support families and do whatever is necessary to help bear the burden.
For many people experiencing mental health issues, however, it is a burden carried alone and in isolation from their community.
Historically, families and individuals have borne, not only the challenges of the illness itself, but the shame and social stigma carried with it.
How empowering it is for Lithgow, as a community, to see the public support on show as part of the arts based Subliminal festival, held throughout the month of April.
Designed specifically to lift the veil on mental illness, a challenge faced by many within Lithgow’s greater community, the festival has used painting, poetry and music (this coming weekend) to spread a message of support, love, understanding and togetherness as a community.
It is hoped that this public support and awareness will continue long after the Subliminal festival has ended.
It takes courage to speak before a crowd, but on Wednesday night, Subliminal achieved something better. A very appreciative crowd was there to see performers, one as young as 14, perform the very powerful and emotive art of poetry.
While some of the poetry was personal, covering topics such as bullying, others covered subjects as diverse as the Court House Hotel and Lithgow’s natural beauties.
It seems fitting that Subliminal has joined with Ironfest this year for its concert, Live at the Union Theatre this Saturday night.
If ever there was a celebration of individuality and inclusivity, it was Lithgow’s home grown historical and fantasy extravanganza.
Let’s hope the messages of these festivals continue well after the final cannon has sounded.
- Anzac Day can be a challenging time for veterans and their families. Counselling is available on 1800 011 046 (24/7) – free and confidential – through Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).
- Beyondblue offers support 24/7 – just call 1300 22 4636.