IN AN effort to overcome the debilitating toll that mental illness and suicide can take on a community, the town of Goolgowi came together to discuss an antidote to the chaos.
Meeting organiser Marie Clarke said community feedback highlighted that there was more than just a lack of services in town, and she has shifted her focus toward launching activities that will foster a sense of community.
"The main focus at this stage has been to get counselling sessions up and running," Ms Clarke said.
"At the meeting a lot of things came out that people wanted for the community, and we're trying to implement everything and get a lot of services out here for the people of the region.
"It's all looking really positive and hopefully that will be able to progress pretty soon."
There were a total of 63 people in attendance, and the town managed to secure Joel Thompson, Manly rugby league sensation from Ivanhoe, to speak on November 9 about mental health.
Numerous groups are willing to provide services in Goolgowi, but there remains a need to find a building or location for operation. Ms Clarke is exploring options with council at present.
Murray MP Helen Dalton attended the meeting, applauding Ms Clarke for showing initiative during a time of crisis.
"The town of Goolgowi has had a shocking past year. It's fantastic to see the community rising as one to lift the town's spirit," Mrs Dalton said.
"I commend Marie Clarke for taking the lead, and I hope others back her up.
"The lack of mental health services in our towns is a huge issue, we urgently need a mental health service in the new Griffith hospital.
"For people in Goolgowi, Wagga hospital is a two-and-a-half hour drive away, we need services closer to home and I'll be fighting for the funding to get them."
If you or someone you know are going through mental distress, please reach out and talk to someone:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- Griffith Suicide Prevention and Support Group: 1300 133 911