Tuesday, 07 August 2018 09:49

Carers Video Launched!

On Friday 23 February 2018, the Hon Jacinta Allan MP, Minister for Public Transport and Minister for Major Projects, Member for Bendigo East officially launched the carers video.

This video has been developed in partnership between the Loddon Healthy Minds Network and the Bendigo Health Carers Support Program, and involves carers of people with a mental illness talking about their experiences.

Organisations are encouraged to save a copy of this video and use as appropriate.

Published in News
Monday, 14 December 2015 15:48

2015 Art Show Results

01 - Michelle Hargreaves - OS - Helping Hands Add Colour To My WorldThe Loddon Healthy Minds Committee are delighted to announce the winners of the 2015 Art Show.  We had a much bigger field of entries this year, particularly with entries coming from the Open Section.  It has been a great way of spreading the message about mental health, not only throughout the Shire, but we have had a wider reach.  Although people outside the Shire were unable to enter the competition, they do at least see the positive moves we are making towards improving the mental health of our residents through art.

And the winners are..........

Published in News
Tuesday, 29 September 2015 15:08

Sunshine Breakfast in Wedderburn

Mental Health week runs from 4 October until 10 October and aims to activate, educate and engage Victorians about mental health through a week of interactive events across the state.

This year the Loddon Healthy Minds Network in association with the Wedderburn Lions Club and Wedderburn College will be holding a Sunshine Breakfast on Thursday 8 October at Jacka Park in Wedderburn.

Come along to Jacka Park from 8am for a free breakfast, enjoy music performed by students from Wedderburn College and check out the entries in the annual art competition. Members of the Healthy Minds Network will be there with information about available mental health services.

Published in News
Monday, 21 July 2014 18:14

Wedderburn Mental Health Group

The Wedderburn Mental Health Group is starting up once again and will be auspiced by the Wedderburn Community House.

Mental Health is an very important issue in any community and assisting people understand more about this can improve the level of people's health and wellbeing overall. The House is particularly pleased to be involved in this initiative and able to assist with the group's formation.

Published in News
Thursday, 03 April 2014 01:15

2014 Art Competition

The Loddon Healthy Minds Network are once again running an art competition for 2014.  The competition will adopt the theme of the Healthy Minds Network for the 2014 year which is "Five Ways To Well Being".

The art competiton is open to all residents of the Loddon Shire between the ages of 14 to 18. Its focus is to provide a mental health topic that will create art and conversations amongst our youth. The greater the awareness of youth about mental health issues, the more positive a society we develop mental health wellbeing is a core value. There is still considerable stigma surrounding the topic of mental health. Competitions such as this and the conversations they create do a great job of breaking down the taboos in society regarding mental health.

Published in News
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:35

Five Ways To Wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing is a set of evidence-based actions aimed at improving people’s wellbeing. They are simple things people can do in their everyday lives to promote their wellbeing and help prevent mental health problems.


With the people around you, with family, friends, workmates and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of connections as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.


Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your levels of fitness and mobility.

Published in News
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 06:05

Talking About Depression

Mental illness is a subject often regarded as taboo in our society. It has been well established as an illness and yet many people have difficulty in talking about it in the same way they talk about broken legs, cancer or heart disease. With depression being one of the most common mental illnesses, it is important that people can talk about their illness, particularly with family and friends so that others can understand what someone with depression may be going through.

Published in News
Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:54

Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression

Bipolar Disorder of Manic Depression
Picture by SherriW1223 Flickr

Whilst many people are becoming more familiar with the term bipolar disorder, many may know it by its old name of manic depression.

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that touches on the extremes of the emotions and in turn can result in some strange behaviour by those who have this disorder.

It is quite normal, as you would well know, that our emotions rise and fall. We can feel sad, we can feel elated, we can feel inbetween. For the bipolar person, the emotions tend to rise and fall well beyond the range of the “normal” person. So people with bipolar can fluctuate between the extremities of elation, known as mania or hypermania and the other side of the coin which is depression.

Bipolar can be difficult to diagnose as people don't usually present themselves for medical assistance in the height of a manic phase. They are generally feeling too good, at least with hypermania anyway. People in a full blown manic phase will obviously be unwell to others around them and intervention is usually sought.

But for the most part, the bipolar person presents at the doctors with a bout of depression. The way our medical system is these days and the pressure on doctors, depression is what is usually diagnosed and appropriate anti-depressants prescibed. The anti-depressants usually fix the depression, but the individual then swings to a high.  This can go on for quite some time until specialist psychiatric services are sought who do a full assessment and diagnose bipolar disorder. When this happens, the anti-depressants are usually stopped and mood stabilizers are introduced in their place in an attempt to limit the extremes of the emotions and bring them back within acceptable ranges.

Bipolar disorder involves mood swings
Picture by AdamNF on Flickr

Bipolar disorder is a complex subject and all people tend to present differently. Whilst there are many symptoms, not all will necessarily apply to each individual. This can be why it can be difficult to diagnose. That said, psychiatrists are skilled at doing so and if you are being treated for depression and it's coming and going with periods of highs inbetween, then perhaps you need to consider asking for a referral to see a psychiatrist.

For more information on Bipolar Disorder you can visit the sites below. The links will take you directly to their pages on Bipolar Disorder.

Black Dog Institute Bipolar Page

Sane Australia Bipolar Information Sheet

Beyond Blue Bipolar Information

Fyrenice - An Extensive Australian Site including support compiled and run and participated in by people with bipolar disorder

Published in Mental Illness
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 20:13


Depression According to Beyond Blue, the National Depression Initiative, Depression is the most common of all mental illnesses and affects one in five Australians.

Depression as a concept is not all that uncommon these days thank goodness. This has been largely due to media coverage in news items, television shows about the illness and many high profile people who have come out declaring that they have the illness.

But exactly what is depression? How can we define it for someone who may actually be experiencing it for the first time?

First of all, we should recognize that life is not a complete bed of roses. Everyone of us has emotional ups and downs that impact upon how we feel. Depression is the “downer” part of our feelings but not until certain criteria are fulfilled. Up until that stage, the term sad is more appropriate.

So what is depression? Well depression can best be summed up as prolonged periods of sadness, but of a deeper variety. Some people describe depression as being void of all feelings, of feeling nothing at all. Many symptoms can present themselves such as constant lethargy, ignoring personal hygiene, loss of interest in hobbies and other activities previously enjoyed, lack of motivation and an uncaring attitude to loved ones and friends.

This is not to say that all these symptoms need to be present, but if you recognize a few, then perhaps it's time to talk to an experienced professional about your state of mind.

Types of Depression

Depression doesn't necessarily come in the plain vanilla variety. There are several different types, often caused by different reasons. We shall try and cover some of them here.

1. Circumstantial Depression
Circumstantial depression is probably the most common form of the illness. It can strike anyone at any time, but it is the circumstances in which people find themselves that brings on the illness.  It is quite normal to feel sad or depressed when you lose a loved one, your job or perhaps your business is threatened with financial hardship. Often the stress of these events can be overwhelming and depression can set in.

The good news is that this type of depression is completely treatable and will pass with both time and a resolution to the circumstances that you find yourself in.

2. Post Natal & Ante Natal Depression
Adjusting to life as a mother can be difficult for some women. It can involve a lot of stress. These depressive episodes are reasonably common in women and not to be ignored. In particular, post natal depression can have severe impacts on the care of the newborn child as well as the mother. Partners and family should be on the lookout for signs of such depression and assist in getting the mother to take action.

For more information on Post Natal & Ante Natal Depression you can visit the Beyond Blue website information on Post Natal and Ante Natal Depression or the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association (PANDA).

3. Chronic Depression
Chronic Depression is the worst form of depression because people who have this form have it for life. The most important thing in these cases is good management. Usually this involved medication and perhaps psychological intervention also to help the patient manage the illness. Most importantly though, you cannot do it by yourself. Help is needed to effectively generate improvement in your health and help you to live a relatively normal lifestyle.

Further Information On Depression

Following are some links where you can get further information about depression.  Remember though that reading about it is important, but doing something about it is even more important.

Black Dog Institute

Beyond Blue

Sane Australia

Post & Ante Natal Depression Association

Published in Mental Illness
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 20:10

Loddon Healthy Minds Network

People Recover from Mental IllnessThe Loddon Shire Healthy Minds Network was formed in 2007 to actively pursue mental health issues as they related to residents of the entire Loddon Shire.  As a very large rural shire, many mental health services available to city and regional residents were not available in Loddon.  Many Loddon residents also did not know how to avail themselves of the services that were available in Bendigo and Melbourne.

The Healthy Minds Committee is auspiced by the Loddon Shire Council and therefore has the ability to raise issues at State Government level. Ultimately, it is the Victorian State Government that has responsibility for the availability and type of mental health services in Loddon and beyond.

In addition to the committee, there are Mental Health Support Groups in the Shire who provide information and raise issues concerning them about mental health in an overall capacity. The committee will then deal with these issues at an appropriate level and seek to have them resolved or acted upon.

Published in Front Page

Member Organisations

Some agencies have provided further information and links to their websites. If the logo shows a hand when you mouseover, you can click for more information.
Loddon Shire CouncilBENDIGO HEALTHIDHSAnglicareVicHALTHEADSPACEBoort District HealthLifelinePCPcommunityRepsMurray Primary Health Network LogoNorthern DIstrict Community Health LogoStandBy logo final 0517SalvoCare Northern Logo Dingee Bush Nurse

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