AnglicareSA’s Tracey Wanganeen is still wiping the red dust from her shoes.
The regional South Australian coordinator of AnglicareSA’s StandBy Support After Suicide program recently joined with Country Arts SA to connect with regional communities across the state in conversations about mental health through the film – Euphoria.
Euphoria explores the joys and challenges of living in a country town, shining a light on mental health with humour and compassion
The 2021 film is a live recording of the final production of a play commissioned by Country Arts SA and developed in consultation with regional communities.
Tracey was invited to join a screening tour of the film across regional communities throughout August.
Her pivotal role was helping break down the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide as well as the barriers to seeking help in regional communities.
“My role with the Country Arts SA tour was to provide support for anyone affected by the themes of suicide and mental health portrayed in the film – if people needed a break, I would check on their wellbeing,” says Tracey.
She also guided the question-and-answer session after each screening and made herself available to chat with community members following each session.
The tour was free to communities and was part of research conducted by Flinders University, which Tracey facilitated through pre and post-film surveys.
“It was part of my role to introduce the ‘pre-film’ survey, which was followed by a ‘post-film’ survey, and then after discussing with audiences about my usual role with Standby, the Question-and-Answer session and a third ‘post Q&A discussion’ survey was also provided for participation.
“At the end of each Q&A, I would also provide information about some of the important telephone supports available besides what they already knew was available locally.”
Those supports, she says, along with positive conversations, are critical to health and wellbeing – particularly in regional communities.
“Audience responses were different in each community as, of course, each community is unique.” Tracey says.
“The number of attendees varied greatly but it was often the conversations over supper that generated and encouraged talking about wellbeing and seeking help.
“People often start a conversation about something in general then become more specific and share their own experiences, often relating to one of the characters in the play.”
In the final week of the tour, Tracey was joined in Roxby Downs and Andamooka by Anne Evans, the other half of the StandBy Support After Suicide team, who is based in Whyalla.
“We ran a StandBy workshop while on the tour which was an amazing opportunity to connect with a community we hadn’t previously had contact with.”
Our StandBy Support After Suicide service is free and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all South Australians who have been bereaved or impacted by suicide at any stage in their life.
The service can help connect people with supports at a place and time when they need it the most. Supports can include emotional support, written resources, guidance on how to speak to children or loved ones about their loss, and referrals to relevant support services.
StandBy Support After Suicide is available 24 hours, seven days a week, on 1300 727 247. It’s important to note that StandBy is not a crisis service. If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.