On Sunday, October 9, GCI Carina in Queensland, Australia hosted a Love Avenue event in support of Mental Health Week. For this community engagement, GCI Carina partnered with Blue Phoenix, a group of volunteers who are passionate about changing the way people think about mental health issues.
As one of the co-founders of Blue Phoenix, I helped to spearhead this community-church partnership event. Blue Phoenix is determined to address the significant gap in mental health education in the community. Its purpose is not only to encourage people but to admire people and give them recognition and applause — it’s a big ask to recover from a mental illness.
Blue Phoenix is a group of volunteers who share their personal stories publicly to encourage conversations about mental health and to dispel myths about psychiatric conditions. They believe we should talk about mental health and well-being because when we talk, tell the stories, discuss stigma, and encourage a dialogue, we can dispel ignorance and myth. And we open our own and others’ hearts and minds to connection, hope, compassion, and recovery. That was our hope for gathering our neighbors for this event.
The Carina congregation hosted Blue Phoenix volunteers and community members for the launch of the sunflower quilt to celebrate its completion. This major textile work is a group initiative and challenge that took more than 12 months to complete. Now it has embarked on its mission to stimulate discussion and to promote thinking differently about mental health issues at the grass roots community level.
What a joy it was to join our larger Queensland community and neighbors celebrating Mental Health Week!