BREAST cancer, Relay for Life or Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea - the staff at the Tenterfield Bakery are willing to get behind the cause, whatever it may be.
From next week, hats and in particular “mad hats” are going to take centre stage as the bakery gets behind a mental health awareness initiative.
Staff member Daniel Wells said it was important support networks were made available for people who needed them.
Inaugurated in 2011 by Rotary Australia, Hat Day raises awareness about mental health and in particular the need for more research into mental illness.
Tenterfield Rotary have organised a dinner at Tenterfield Golf Club next Tuesday night where they will have a number of different guest speakers including local poet Barbara Potter.
Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1997, Barbara recently released her first anthology which explores, through poetry her personal battles with paranoia and depression.
She said there was still a stigma attached to people with mental illness which made it hard for people to be open about their experiences.
“This is how I am, it is something I live with and will always have to live with, but I take responsibility for things now and if I take my medication then I can live a normal life,” she said.
Taking responsibility and changing your attitude are two pieces of advice Barbara has for other sufferers of mental illness.
Other speakers include Lisa Ainsworth and a local drug and alcohol psychologist.
Rotary life member Peter Chittick said he hoped Hat Week would help raise awareness about mental illness and help improve the support services available to people in Tenterfield.
Figures acquired by Rotary Health indicate that more than four million people will experience mental illnesses at some point during their life.
There will also be a street stall on Rouse Street on Thursday, May 24.