MINISTER for Disability Services and Member for Bunbury The Hon. Donald Punch MLA will officially open Mental Health Week in Western Australia today (Saturday, 9 October) at the Big Swamp Parkland in Bunbury, where the local community and visitors to the area will have an opportunity to ride, walk or jog the 2km track of closed off road around the swamp.
The event, hosted in a joint initiative between peak body for community mental health, Western Australian Association for Mental Health, and peak body for cycling, WestCycle, will also feature pump tracks, creative crafts, decorating bikes, food trucks, pop-up displays, mental wellbeing resources, music, little critter medals and giftbags; and fun for the whole family, right alongside Bunbury showpiece staples, the Wildlife Park and the Big Swamp mega playground.
Mental Health Week, which has been running for more than 50 years in WA, is bringing its flagship Opening Ceremony to Bunbury for the first time in what promises to be a delight for local residents, school holiday travelers and day-trippers from Perth alike.
As part of the weekend’s activities, the WA State FONDO Series Round 3 for more than 150 competitive cyclists will depart from the Dolphin Discovery Centre in the early hours of Sunday (10 October) morning to mark World Mental Health Day.
Around 400 people are expected to enjoy the Mental Health Week Opening Ceremony Community Ride and Family Fun Day, set to include many families and children, which is fitting as the official theme for WA Mental Health Week 2021 is ‘Mental health starts with our Children’.
Western Australian Association for Mental Health chief executive officer Taryn Harvey said the theme was an important opportunity to remind the community how critical the early childhood years are for setting a foundation for lifelong mental wellbeing, development, and meaningful connections.
“Bike riding is a socially inclusive and accessible activity for most families and children to take part in and the protective mental health benefits of cycling, being in the fresh air and connecting with our community are well documented, so there is a nice synergy at this year’s event,” Ms Harvey said.
“Positive mental health gives children a sense of security and contentment, facilitates positive social interactions, and enables the steady development of critical competencies and life skills.”
“The early years represent the fastest period of brain growth and development, marking a time of rapid change; and research shows how we raise, educate, support, engage, influence, and interact with babies, toddlers and children matters a great deal.
“When children have what they need to develop well in the early years, they can thrive and be healthy now and throughout their lives. We have a crucial window to set them up for life and prevent mental health issues developing later in adulthood or their teens.”
The Community Ride and Opening Ceremony Weekend for Mental Health Week 2021 is brought to you by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health and WestCycle; with Opening Event Partner Richmond Wellbeing; and support from WA Mental Health Commission, Lotterywest, Tourism WA, and City of Bunbury.
Can't make it? Share the momentum statewide!
Even if you can’t make it to Bunbury, head out for a family, friend, solo or community bike ride this weekend in your local area and tag @MentalHealthWeekWA #MHW2021 on Instagram and Facebook so we can share momentum around the State!
In addition to the Southwest-based Opening Weekend, there will also be around 200 community events being held all around the State; a Tik Tok / Instagram Reels Dance Challenge; plus a flurry of activity on social media including tips and resources.
Opening Ceremony Event Details
Date: Saturday, 9 October
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Location: Big Swamp Parkland, Prince Phillip Drive, Bunbury
Parking and access: Road closures will be in place from 12:30pm around the swamp and entrance to the event and parking is from the south end of corners Clark and Carob Streets.
Cost: Free! BYO Bikes
More info at: mentalhealthweek.org.au
Public Relations and Communications Manager
Western Australian Association for Mental Health