Stay Afloat – Launch of Seafood Industry mental health support initiative

National mental health pilot program, Stay Afloat Australia, is launching a new mental health and wellbeing initiative designed to support the mental wellness and education of members of the Australian Seafood industry, and their families.

Stay Afloat is educates fishers and healthcare workers about the issues and stressors impacting Australian seafood industry, to help them better support and understand the local industry and what the life of a fisher is like across the regions.

The Stay Afloat program is run by Seafood Industry Australia, and is preparing to formally launch at Parliament House in Canberra, as part of the Friends of Seafood Event on 5 September 2023.

The key elements of the program are:

  • Establishing trusted advocates in each of the ‘focus communities’
  • Education and training in the focus communities alongside industry associations and online programs
  • Community resilience activities, funded by the Stay Afloat community resilience fund.

Stay Afloat Australia has recently appointed their WA Co-ordinators

  • Steve McMahon
  • Mel Edwards

Steve and Mel are both qualified mental health first-aid instructors and have a range of other credentials and abilities to support the Stay Afloat Program across Western Australia.

They plan to visit all regions of WA over the next 12 months, with the goal of establishing at least six ‘focus communities’, growing to 10-12 focus communities over the course of the two year roll out.

Mel and Steve will be engaging with WAFIC and industry members to get input into the best way to meet and communicate with industry and other stakeholders.

Steve and Mel will also be engaging with a range of other local providers, including Regional Men’s Health, the Financial Counsellors’ network, the Primary Health Network and StandBy postvention.

Steve’s passion for being around people has led him to work in a wide range of environments, from offshore vessels, to remote outback stations, and into corporate offices. Steve is the kind of person who finds joy in striking up a conversation with anyone willing to share a tale. In his spare time, you’ll find Steve with his family exploring coastal locations.

Mel is a social worker by trade, a path that stemmed from a passion to make positive change and work with people within her community. Mel has worked in many diverse roles with both adults and young people, but it was her 6 years spent working in isolated environments offshore on various vessels and facilities that shone a light on mental health and redirected Mel’s professional journey. When she isn’t working, Mel enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, and trying to fit in some exercise, but as a parent of young boys, that is most achieved through a kick of the footy’!

Email: [email protected]

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