Psychs on bikes


A group of dedicated mental health professionals arrived in Tasmania last week but while doctors often come and go, these ones are part of a unique group: one that is travelling on two wheels.

The annual Psychs on Bikes tour this year came to Tasmania for the first time.

Thirteen psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health support nurses, will this week travel the state with the goal of spreading mental health awareness to regional and regional communities.

The riders are from all across Australia and bring a wealth of knowledge in a state where mental health is an increasingly large issue.

The group understands that one factor that can affect people choosing to seek is money issues so they will also be providing free health checks that include, blood mass indication tests, blood pressure tests and respiratory function tests.

Their main focus is raising awareness of mental health issues and trying to combat some of the stigma associated with mental health which can be a big problem especially facing men in a rural area.

Their goals are to sit with community members and have simple, light chats, encouraging “speaking up.”

Psychs on Bikes president Joe Dunn spoke about the focus on men being important, with the focus on patience but perseverance “The idea is to engage men in these communities because they tend to under-use health services.”

“The suicide rate is four men to one women, so things need to change.”

Tony Barker, an outreach worker with Rural Alive and Well, spoke about how the tour also encourages men to find a healthy balance between relationships, lifestyle and work-life.

“It’s all about talking to a mate and making that initial conversation,” Mr Barker said.

Over the course of the week the Psychs on Bikes toured Smithton, Queenstown, Bothwell, Longford, Sheffield and other towns across the state.

Keagan Belbin

Mental Health and Finding Work

I have been living through many mental illness related issues lately, I am sure some of our readers have been doing the same. I have been living with severe depression. I have felt worthless. I had to drop out of university because I was experiencing countless panic attacks on a daily basis. My depression has been a crushing burden, lingering just far away enough that I can live through it, but I can never forget that it is there.

I certainly hope that many of you have a wonderful support group, people that care and love you and are willing to help on your darkest days. When facing mental illness, a strong support network can be one of the best medicines. However, I know that not everyone has people like that in their lives. I certainly do not, I told my mother of my mental illness, she essentially told me to get over it, and that it was imaginary. Do not let people invalidate your struggles; they make you who you are. If you need help visit your local GP who can provide you with advice and options. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and do not have any personal support, call Lifeline, whose phone number will be listed at the end of this post.

Living with mental illnesses is difficult enough in the first place, but the demands of today’s society are that you require a job and need to be productive to be a valuable citizen. The pressures to meet these expectations can be very difficult when dealing with mental health challenges. I have struggled with applying for jobs and handling the rejection that often comes afterwards. The rejection, in many cases, can make you question your own worth. Just know that your ability to work does not reflect your worth as a person, we do not live in a meritocracy.

I recently had a job meeting with a charitable organisation. I spoke with them regarding my depression and anxiety issues. They told me that there are services available to help people with mental illnesses find work and how to manage it. Here are some additional tips I was offered:

  • Be reasonable about your limitations and be aware of your triggers
  • Do not push yourself too hard because you are having a good day, week, or month. You can accomplish more when you are mentally and physically healthy. If you push yourself too hard for too long, you could end up needing time off to recover
  • Take breaks at work
  • Maintain your medication routines

Suicide is often an unpleasant ending to many suffering through mental health issues such as depression but there are many support groups that are raising awareness of this unfortunate thought process. The organisation Beyond Blue have a support line you may call at any time if you are feeling suicidal or if you need someone to listen to your problems. World Suicide Awareness day is annual on the 10th of September, paired with R U OK day.

Not all of these are applicable to every situation but good advice regardless. One final point worth noting is that of discrimination. Suffering from a mental health challenge is not a life choice, but an illness. The unfortunate fact about this is that discrimination in the workplace does happen. Know that in Australia, there are laws protecting people with mental illnesses against discrimination. If you feel you are not coping or have been discriminated against, here are some contact details you may find useful:

Lifeline support number: 13 11 14

Australian Human Rights Commission Complaints Info line: 1300 656 419

Australian Human Rights Commission email address:

Beyond Blue 24/7 support line: 1300 22 4636

R U OK day website:

Jakob Barrett