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Mental health in focus: Small Talk, Big Difference campaign ambassador Preston Campbell with RFDS Outback Mental Health clinical lead Dr Tim Driscoll.

Mental health in focus: Small Talk, Big Difference campaign ambassador Preston Campbell with RFDS Outback Mental Health clinical lead Dr Tim Driscoll.

Community members are invited to join the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) (RFDS) and rugby league legend Preston Campbell for a free virtual catch-up on July 31, as part of the Small Talk, Big Difference campaign.

The campaign, launched earlier this month by the RFDS in collaboration with Queensland Health, aims to equip people with the skills and knowledge to better connect with their community, and health professionals.

Jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), the Small Talk, Big Difference campaign specifically encourages people to have conversations about mental health.

Campaign ambassador Preston Campbell will be chatting with members of the public from 4pm on July 31 to help kick-off the first Free Friday Small Talk session.

Those who register to attend the virtual session will have access to an informative discussion about staying connected and how to become comfortable having conversations about mental health. Live music by local group, the Music Makers, will also be on offer.

RFDS Outback Mental Health clinical lead Dr Tim Driscoll encourages community members to join him and Preston.

"Remaining connected to others is essential to our health and wellbeing, so I'm keen to chat about ways in which people can connect with their loved ones," Dr Driscoll said.

"Most of us get through tough times in life with the help of family and friends, because, after all, small talk makes a big difference. Remember, we are stronger together," he said.

Dr Driscoll said a variety of activities and resources will be delivered through the Small Talk, Big Difference campaign over the next 12 months to assist people with developing and maintaining connections.

"Webinars, virtual events, podcasts and downloadable resources will all be made available. Details of each activity or resource are available on our website.

"The campaign will target people living within flood-impacted shires in western Queensland, but the messaging has relevance for anyone interested in improving their wellbeing and connections with others.

"This could be someone who has been impacted directly by mental health concerns, or those who know of someone experiencing challenges, which is most of us."

Dr Driscoll said the RFDS, through the campaign, is hoping to help overcome the distance and isolation experienced by many living in rural and remote areas.

"We want to help people become more comfortable and confident in having challenging conversations, particularly about mental health. Help is readily available, but sometimes people need encouragement from those close to them, to get the help they need.

"The campaign will also encourage people to seek help and talk over their concerns with a GP. A local GP or health centre is the best place to start, offering direct support and linking you in with professionals who can help you through the hard times."

  • Free Friday Small Talk session, 4pm, Friday 31 July, 2020. Register online at smalltalkbigdifference.com.au/events/
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