I have always wanted to visit Longreach. I think it’s because I know a number of people who have made the long drive out and have had their hearts captured by the beautiful country and even more by the incredible people living in the outback.
So, when the Central West Suicide Prevention Network invited Roses in the Ocean to contribute to their Health & Wellbeing event on Mental Health Day, October 10, we were quick to accept!
One of our first discoveries before we even left Brisbane was a stunning rose called the Outback Angel, featuring beautiful amber, apricot and copper tones reminiscent of the native ochre landscape that we were about to visit. In recognition of our first visit to the region we created a one-off Roses in the Outback brand to support our activities.
Kathy and I flew out to deliver our community TouchPoints workshop and a keynote speech, but most importantly to connect with members of the community and hear how we can add to an overall picture of assistance through lived experience.
Of course, it is excruciatingly dry in Australia’s outback and the stories of hardship, the toll on people’s wellbeing, and the widespread community concern for the health of everyone envelopes you as you start chatting to everyone.
The TouchPoints workshop was well attended by key community leaders, health service providers and first responders, and there was terrific discussion about the practical ways that community can identify, respond to and support others through suicide.
The afternoon was spent chatting with lots of other regional service providers at the Health & Wellbeing event before we delivered a presentation about the role of community in suicide prevention.
We are thrilled to have been invited back to Longreach for a number of events and to run capacity-building workshops over the next 12 months.
Roses in the Ocean will match the Central West Suicide Prevention Network’s commitment and set up a Central West Lived Experience network; including up-skilling network members to deliver the TouchPoints workshop, which fits with our ongoing commitment to building community capacity and sustainability
Kathy and I left Longreach with a sense of optimism. The Longreach community, along with other rural and remote communities across Australia, faces challenges unique to their situations and experiences of life. And yet there is also immense community spirit – a lot of great people working tirelessly to connect with others and provide whatever help they can.
We are extremely grateful to the Central West Suicide Prevention Network and all the generous people we met. We can’t wait to return to Longreach with Roses in the Outback – see more of this beautiful region, connect with community and check out the cattle sales and horse shows!