Former NRL player and boxer turned mental health motivational speaker Joe Williams will be in the region this month to inspire local social and affordable housing tenants.
Mr Williams will be addressing Compass Housing tenants who participate in the community housing providers annual, local tenant forums.
His talk is also part of Compass Housing’s Shout Out program. Shout Out is the first mental health and suicide prevention awareness program specifically tailored to help social and affordable housing tenants. The NSW Government funded program includes a general awareness campaign for tenants as well as training for frontline staff and tenants to recognise and respond to suicidality and mental health issues.
Mr Williams is a Wiradjuri man. He was born in Cowra and raised in Wagga Wagga. He [played rugby league for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional boxing in 2009.
He said he was pleased to be involved in a program that helps people from lower socio economic backgrounds to be mentally healthy. He said after attempting suicide in 2012 he realised his purpose is to help others who struggle with mental illness as well as to prevent suicide and mental illness.
“I will be sharing my experience with Compass’ tenants in a positive way to inspire them to overcome the challenges they face,” Mr Williams said.
Compass Housing knowledge manager Professor David Adamson OBE said having people like Joe share their stories was one important way to start the conversation about helping each other to have good mental health. Professor Adamson said many community housing tenants have previously dealt with housing stress and other issues in their lives which negatively impact on their mental health.
“Shout Out is part of our broader community development programs that help tenants to improve their lives and to help them participate fully in the community,” Prof Adamson said.
“Shout Out is implementing suicide prevention strategies that have strong evidence, in line with the new LifeSpan Integrated Suicide Prevention recommendations,” he said.
The 2016 national suicide data shows eight lives are lost to suicide in Australia every day. About 100,000 Australians experience suicide ideation each year. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for all Australians aged between 15 and 44.
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