October 13 - 19, 2019: Issue 424


This Mental Health Month Let's Talk About The Elephant In The Room

Wesley the elephant with some of our ABSLSC lifesavers - photo supplied by The Ideas Suite.

SLSNSW joined forces with Wesley Mission Hospitals for the promotion of Mental Health Month (October) at Avalon Beach SLSC on World Mental Health Day this week (October 10th). Wesley Mission Hospitals brought along Wesley the Elephant to encourage everyone to talk about the 'elephant in the room' and to raise awareness of, and remove the stigma behind mental health. This is the third consecutive year Wesley Hospital has brought Wesley the Elephant – and gifting miniature Wesley ‘stress elephants’ – to the public.

Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Dr Keith V Garner AM spoke about the mental health challenges emergency service workers face.

“By joining with Surf Life Saving NSW, we’re encouraging the public to talk more openly about the ‘elephant in the room’ and increase public awareness and appreciation of the unique and challenging role fulfilled by emergency service personnel and staff.” Dr. Garner said

“Around one-fifth of emergency service workers report high-levels of psychological stress and do not always recognise the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD in themselves. It can be prolonged over many years, and often people don’t realise that it’s affecting their everyday lives until it impacts their relationships, work and daily activities."

Steven Pearce, CEO of Surf Life Saving NSW, said he was delighted that SLSNSW was joining forces with Wesley Hospital this Mental Health Month to encourage SLSNSW members to join the conversation and share their mental health journeys. 

“Avalon Surf Life Saving Club has received awards for its youth programs and engagement with young people, so Wesley Hospital’s event, which fittingly is taking place on World Mental Health Day, is important in supporting open and honest discussions about mental health among our younger members.” Mr. Pearce said

The health and wellbeing of surf lifesavers across NSW was highlighted as a key priority in the Surf Life Saving NSW Strategic Plan 2018-21

"Over the past year, we have worked closely with psychologists and experts in critical incident management and post-traumatic stress to understand how we can best support our members following a critical incident," said SLSNSW CEO Steven Pearce.

"We’re proud to deliver a new member welfare process to our members this season, which is firmly rooted in best practice. This is a key outcome and commitment of our Strategic Plan. The health and welfare of our members is hugely important to us. Myself, the SLSNSW President, George Shales and the entire SLSNSW Board are committed to doing what we can to look after our members that attend these critical incidents."

The new procedures will be endorsed by the SLSNSW Board in the coming weeks, and promoted to members alongside the updated Lifesaving Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

A new Member Welfare Guide outlines the support that members can expect if they are involved in a critical incident, and also creates awareness around the reactions that members may experience, and some coping strategies that they may find useful.

This is just the first of a number of resources which will made available to members this season, with additional personnel, training and resources in the pipeline to help embed this process and to support a strong culture of member safety and wellbeing.

Branch, Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches (SLSSNB), continues to offer their Mental Health program as well.

While a number of organisations have just started to realise the importance of Mental Health First Aid Training, Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches kicked off a TIPS (Trauma Incident Peer Support) program in 1994 looking after the welfare of its members after critical incidents.

Patricia (‘Trish’) Newton OAM is the founding chair and co-ordinator of the Traumatic Incident Peer Support (TIPS) team. The program plays a critical role in ensuring the welfare and mental wellbeing of members in the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch who have been involved in a critical incident.

Having mentored and motivated surf lifesavers involved in traumatic incidences for more than 25 years, Trish knows first-hand the impact saving lives can sometimes have on the mental health of emergency service workers, including lifesavers. She welcomes Wesley Hospital’s ‘elephant in the room’ initiative, which she says is another important way of facilitating open discussions around mental health for people at the beach.

“Our TIPS team has been providing surf lifesaving members and their families with crucial support for more than 25 years. Our motto is ‘be there, stay there.’ We know the importance of being on-call, down at the beach, when a critical incident occurs,” said Trish Newton.

“Providing a mental health support service to all involved is crucial in these events, and we’re excited to joining with Wesley Hospital, as they bring their giant elephant to the beach to promote awareness around just that.”

Trish Newton, a former nurse and the first ever female president of Dee Why SLSC, has been internationally recognised for her work in this field and still oversees SLSSNB's Mental Health program.

The SLSSNB Branch will be conducting another of their Mental Health First Aid training courses in November. Each course will run over two Sundays ( 6 hours each day ) at our Warriewood office. Sunday 10th and Sunday 17th November 2019 - LIMITED places available.

Course participants learn about the signs and symptoms of the common and disabling mental health problems, how to provide initial help, where and how to get professional help, what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective, and how to provide first aid in a crisis situation.

A special discounted fee for SNB Club members is $120 per person which includes refreshments and a light lunch each day. Non-members are also welcome at $200 per person. For more information on the course content click here. For bookings please call 9913 8066 or email jen@surflifesaving.net.au. Limit of 15 per course.

If you or anyone you know needs help please contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
  • Headspace on 1800 650 890
  • ReachOut at au.reachout.com

Avalon Beach SLSC Members with SLS NSW CEO Steven Pearce, Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Dr Keith V Garner AM and SLS SNB CEO, Steve McInnes. Photo supplied by The Ideas Suite.


The Extinction Rebellion Reaches The Shores Of Manly To Stage 'Heads In The Sand' Demonstration: 75 Year Old Relates Rough Handling In Earlier Protest

At Manly Beach this week - photo supplied

One of the demonstrators at Friday’s XR protest in Manly was bio-diversity lecturer Martin Wolterding, 75, who was arrested at another protest earlier in the week. Police dragged Mr Wolterding off Parramatta Road at the earlier environmental demonstration.  

Mr Wolterding said he was supporting his other Extinction Rebellion friends and showing them and the police that he would not be intimidated in getting the message about the current environmental emergency out. 

Sometimes the group was confrontational and sometimes they used humour to get the message across, he said. 

“A couple of people decided that what they would like to do is come down to the beach and put their heads in the sand to symbolise those out there in political offices, political positions, who have their heads in the sand but refuse to admit it,” he told Pittwater Online.

“The truth is so horrific that the human brain doesn’t want to contemplate it.  

“So many people are still distracting themselves, still in denial about the seriousness of this environmental and bio-diversity emergency.” 

Mr Wolterding said an embryonic XR group had begun on the Northern Beaches but those concerned about the issues could also discuss declaring an “environmental emergency” within their own groups – including churches and choirs – and join XR, bringing their own flags and banners along to events. 

“One doesn’t have to be a member of Extinction Rebellion to be in this struggle, we want everybody to come in,” he said. 

“Everyone will come to realise sooner or later that we were right, they were wrong, and my sincere prayer is that when they come to that realisation it will be early enough to join us.”

Discussing his arrest earlier in the week, Mr Wolterding said police had used a wrist lock, a form of pain control on him – injuring him in the process. 

“They over-reacted and they hurt me, and when they realised they hurt me they had to send me off to the hospital,” he said. 

Mr Wolterding received no bail conditions, unlike others arrested who stated given bail conditions which ban them from coming within 2km of the Sydney Town Hall, attending future Extinction Rebellion events or “going near” or speaking to members of Extinction Rebellion.

Of course, banning people from turning up 'within 2km of Town Hall' may also make it difficult to attend court in town without breaching those bail conditions (see this Issue's Cattle prods and welfare cuts: mounting threats to Extinction Rebellion show demands are being heard, but ignored by Piero Moraro, Lecturer in Criminal Justice, Charles Sturt University).

On Wednesday, the New South Wales Council of Civil Liberties said the conditions were “absurd”, would affect thousands of people, and infringed on the constitutional right to freedom of political communication.

“Where there is a legitimate political issue such as seeking action on climate change, protesters shouldn’t be seen to be forfeiting their democratic rights including freedom of association, freedom of movement and the implied right to freedom of political expression.” - NSWCCL President, Pauline Wright.

Martin Wolterding at Manly this week


Local Surfers Excel In Rip Curl GromSearch 2019 Newcastle Event

First Placed Cedar Leigh-Jones on Day 4  - photo by Grant Sproule/Surfing NSW

The 2019 Rip Curl GromSearch at Newcastle wrapped up on Tuesday October 8th with four of the six new champions being crowned being local surfers. Congratulations to Cedar Leigh-Jones (Whale Beach), Winter Vincent (Manly), Fletcher Kelleher (Manly) and Ruby Rockstar Trew (Seaforth) on securing First Place in their age Divisions.

Congratulations, too, to Benny Wilson and Emerson Raper (both Narrabeen), Xavier Bryce (Mona Vale) and Sol Gruendling (Queenscliff) for securing places in the top 4 in their age divisions.


Benny Wilson - photo by Grant Sproule/Surfing NSW


Spring In Pittwater 2019

Bangalley Bottlebrush - photo by A J Guesdon
Warriewood Boaties - Spring 2019 - photo by Joe Mills
North Narrabeen Rock Platform Reflections - photo by Joe Mills
Spring Shower Flower - photo by Joe Mills.

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