President Jim introduced former member of RCWE John Parkinson, PHFR, to speak about the “Let’s Talk Foundation” and its work. In doing so, he noted that he known John since he, with PP Cliff Heath, conducted the East Warrnambool Fish & Chips Shop.
John made a series of heart-felt observations about the state of society and its impact on mental health.
Let’s Talk began some years ago when there had been suicides of sixteen young people in a short time – John suggested that they failed to seek help because they were fearful of the response they would receive because of the community’s attitude to mental illness.
He noted that we all need to feel that we belong, to have a sense of purpose, to be loved. If any one of these is missing, it eats away at the person.
Trust is in short supply, not helped by some of the things that happen on social media. Who can you really 
trust? Who would you trust with your life?
John suggested that only 3% of what young people learn comes from talking; leaving 97% to come from other media sources. We need to ask what is good in the world. The experience of most adults gives them effective filters for selecting what they take in – young people don’t have this experience and tend to absorb everything, good and bad.
A worrying trend is for organizations and governments to focus on fixing trouble after it has happened, ignoring the more useful process of preventing difficulties before they happen.
Let’s Talk now has a “home” at TAFE, and has been able to appoint an Executive Officer and some other support staff.
Young males are more likely to take their own life than young females, the ratio being 7 : 2. Also, males tend to use more violent methods.
Jim thanked John for his presentation, which had very clearly come from the heart.
John directed his speaker fee to the Neil Porter Legacy.