Mitch McPherson, the 2017 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year is a Mental Health Advocate and Lived Experience Speaker. He is also the Founder of Tasmanian based mental health and suicide awareness organisation SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.
SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY works to promote positive mental health and prevent suicide by normalising conversations about mental health and encouraging people to seek help when they need it. Mitch established the organisation in 2013 after his younger brother Ty died by suicide. Mitch shares his personal story of loss to encourage others to speak up and seek help when they have issues or go through difficult times.
Mitch and his team organise community events, fundraisers and presentations to community groups, workplaces, sporting clubs and schools to promote the SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY message. The team works hard throughout Tasmania and Australia to raise awareness about mental health and suicide, and share that it’s OK to not be OK, where to find help, and how we can help each other out in tough times.
Mitch’s message for Neighbour Day:
“Connection is something I am incredibly passionate about. During my 8 years working in the space of mental health, I have realised the importance of finding ways to stay connected with friends, family members and the general community.
Community connection is important for our health and wellbeing, and Neighbour Day is a great opportunity to connect with those around you.
It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture, it can be something small. Perhaps just a smile and a wave. Or a g’day and a chat to someone in your street about the weather or sport.
Maybe introduce yourself to a neighbour you haven’t met. You never know who you’ll meet and you may find you actually have something in common.
It is really important that we strengthen our communities; get people to connect with their neighbours, and in doing so, put a dent in loneliness.
So have a go this Neighbour Day, reach out and make new connections by simply just saying ‘hi’ on Neighbour Day.
I strongly encourage everyone to be a part of Australia’s biggest celebration of community – and remember… ‘Every day is neighbour day’ and ‘it’s ok to not be ok.’
Neighbour Day Ambassador